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A New Look at Coconut Oil – Part 8

Friday, March 22, 2024 12:00 PM

Article by MARY ENIG, PHD 
January 2, 2000
Photo by Kenny Eliason on 

Health and Nutritional Benefits from Coconut Oil: An Important Functional Food for the 21st Century

Presented at the AVOC Lauric Oils Symposium, Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam, 25 April 1996

III. How about the studies where coconut oil was deliberately fed to human beings?

Some of the studies reported thirty and more years ago should have cleared coconut oil of any implication in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD). 

For example, when Frantz and Carey (1961) fed an additional 810 kcal/day fat supplement for a whole month to males with high normal serum cholesterol levels, there was no significant difference from the original levels even though the fat supplement was hydrogenated coconut oil. 

Halden and Lieb (1961) also showed similar results in a group of hyper-cholesterolemics when coconut oil was included in their diets. Original serum cholesterol levels were reported as 170 to 370 mg/dl. Straight coconut oil produced a range from 170 to 270 mg/dl. Coconut oil combined with 5% sunflower oil and 5% olive oil produced a range of 140 to 240 mg/dl. 

Earlier, Hashim and colleagues (1959) had shown quite clearly that feeding a fat supplement to hyper-cholesterolemics, where half of the supplement (21% of energy) was coconut oil (and the other half was safflower oil), resulted in significant reductions in total serum cholesterol. The reductions averaged -29% and ranged from -6.8 to -41.2%. 

And even earlier, Ahrens and colleagues (1957) had shown that adding coconut oil to the diet of hyper-cholesterolemics lowers serum cholesterol from, e.g., 450 mg/dl to 367 mg/dl. This is hardly a cholesterol-raising effect.
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