The myths about coconut oil are still everywhere. This is bad because they create confusion and mislead people. Let me set the record straight here and help clear the air since I'm one of the rare few who is extensively consuming and using coconut oil day in, day out. Let's bust them all.
Myth #1: Coconut oil has soluble fiber
I confess. This was the myth I created in 2006 when I first got started with coconut oil. My bad.
Why did I think that way in the first place?
I felt my bowels were moving more vigorously than before. I went online and found that quite a number of people also had the same outcome – diarrhea after taking coconut oil.
So, the first thing that flashed into my mind was that coconut oil must've had some good fiber in it. If not, why would it trigger bowel movement?
But because it looks so clear, so I thought it couldn't be insoluble fiber. And I concluded it with having soluble fiber.
I even wrote an article about that. So now, if you happen to stumble upon someone telling you coconut oil contains soluble fiber, the concept probably comes from me. Laugh it off and move on. Coconut does not have any fiber in it. I apologize for my ignorance. I've learned my lesson. It's actually the medium-chain fatty acids at work.
Myth #2: Coconut oil's saturated fat is toxic
"Will coconut oil's saturated fats clog arteries and cause heart problem?
I get that a lot. Thanks to the many negative remarks still flying around today. And I always spontaneously responded, "I would have died long ago if coconut oil's saturated fats cause heart disease."
You might not realize this. But if you study those coconut oil skeptics carefully, they usually do not even touch, let alone eating coconut oil. They'll try super hard to dig up those old-school yet false research papers on saturated fat and tell you "There, that's the fact. So, coconut oil is toxic because its saturated fats clog arteries".
Alas! Don't they know that saturated fats come in different shapes and sizes?
Long-chain saturated fat that's in the meat is toxic because meat itself carries the toxins generated by animals when they're killed.
What's more, long-chain fats, regardless of saturated or unsaturated, are difficult for our body to break down and convert into energy. They, for the most part, wind up in your fat cells as a result.
Which is why so many people grow fat after eating food containing long-chain fats.
But the saturated fats in coconut oil are of medium-chain size. About 50–64% of them.
Medium-chain fats convert to energy more easily. Me, and a lot others who consume coconut oil do not grow fat easily. This is the best proof.
If coconut oil is toxic, why are there so many people gaining benefits from it? If coconut oil is just a fad, it will never have such a longstanding influence on people.
If you look back on any weight loss pills. None could stand the test of time. They rise in the beginning and soon fall after a few months. But coconut oil is gaining a foothold and its popularity is ever increasing.
Have you seen anyone having heart problem due to consumption of coconut oil yet?
If the saturated fats in coconut oil are bad, you would've heard many people getting sent to hospitals for treatment since 10 years ago. And it would have gotten in the newspaper headline and warn people against taking coconut oil, right?
What you've heard (and read) all these years are voices from both ends of the spectrum. If you're confused, just try it out yourself. It definitely won't kill you if you just test with a dab on your skin or ½ teaspoon added to your meals every day. It's not some toxic drug like heroine. So, how worse can it be?
If you don't use coconut oil, how would you know whether it's good or bad?
Most protesters (including the so-called doctors, professors and other health professionals) of coconut oil are people who never use coconut oil themselves. They don't have the balls to try. They simply parrot what others are saying.
If you leave your health in the hands of these mindless people, you're actually missing out on a great opportunity to fix and improve your health. Don't do that. It's stupid.
Of course, if you're allergic to coconut products, don't try. If you really want to test its effect as you think it might benefit you in certain ways, consult your allergist.
Myth #3: Coconut oil is a cure-all
Since when did coconut oil become a cure-all? I seriously have no clue on that. One of the most absurd coconut oil myths I've ever heard.
True, coconut oil might seem like a miracle cure for people with Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, low thyroid, heart disease and chronic constipation etc. Oh, coconut oil is exceptionally good for flu too.
These people are happy that their ailments have a natural remedy that requires little or no medication at all. They save a lot on medical expenses too.
But listen hard, coconut oil can never be a cure-all.
Almost everywhere on the web, you name it, there will always be some terms associating with the phrase 'coconut oil'. Such as "coconut oil for insomnia", "coconut oil for hair loss", "coconut oil for regrowing hair" or coconut oil for whatsoever.
Some websites even promise you heaven and earth that coconut oil can help you no matter what disease or malady you have.
Demand leads to supply. But that doesn't work for coconut oil!
I myself used to be a chronic insomnia sufferer. Even when I started taking coconut oil and took it for 10 years my insomnia never improved in the least bit. But there are people who claim that coconut oil helps to cure their insomnia.
Either they are selling hard to earn commission from promoting a particular brand of coconut oil or they're day-dreaming that coconut oil helps to put them to sleep.
Okay, there's a special condition whereby coconut oil does help with insomnia. That especially applies to women with hormonal imbalance either due to pregnancy or pre- or post menopausal symptoms.
When your hormone levels fluctuate dramatically, the production of melatonin (the hormones that aid sleep) will go awry.
But these are temporary at best. Once you get past that period you'll be able to sleep well again. Of course in the meantime it's good to have things like coconut oil as an aid for better sleep because it means you will be able to sleep well for months or even several years for menopausal symptoms.
If you're a chronic insomnia and your mind seems to refuse to rest at night like I was, try coconut oil. I guarantee you'll stay wide awake as you used to. I've been there.
Another more ridiculous claim is that coconut oil can help to regrow lost hair. These people have one thing in common. They'll mix coconut oil with some ingredients and tell you that this combo helps to regrow hair. And of course, you should buy from them if you want to get back a full head of hair.
They theorize that coconut oil will activate your dead follicles based on the fact that coconut oil converts to energy and empowers the cell. It kind of makes sense. But unfortunately, coconut oil doesn't work that way. Don't ask me. I also don't know why.
Honestly, I have some receding hairline and tried coconut oil too. RBD coconut oil, fractionated coconut oil, virgin coconut oil (except hydrogenated as I knew that will make it worse), mixture of these oils... nothing works.
You know how disappointed I was when I heard someone claiming coconut oil helps to regrow hair and not a single strand sprouts up on the barren spot in the end?
Alright. Coconut oil does help with thinning hair to a small degree. It also helps to strengthen your brittle hair by preventing protein loss when you apply it to your hair every day. These are all true.
But if you hair is long lost from your scalp, I'm afraid there's next to nothing coconut oil can do to help you regrow. I'm sorry to break this news but this is the harsh reality and I don't want you to get cheated of your hard-earned money by those unscrupulous snake oil sellers. Try something else, dude.
Of course, if you do really get some encouraging results from using coconut oil on your scalp and some long lost hair has regrown, please share with me so that I can get back some hair too.
Bottom line, there's no such thing as a cure-all. Coconut oil is no exception.
Myth #4: Ingest coconut oil sparingly... it's a fat after all
I don't do that. I eat wholeheartedly and as much as my body can handle. It would be such a shame if you take it sparingly since it really helps a lot in boosting your immunity and metabolism.
However, it is still a fat that contributes about 9 calories per gram to your intake. So, to make sure you don't heap on excess calories that cause weight gain, instead of eating sparingly, just cut back on other foods when you incorporate coconut oil into your diet.
If you're eating coconut oil for weight loss, all the more you should consume more of it so that you can get rid of more unwanted body fat.
But as just said, when you up your coconut oil intake, you must lower your intake of other foods to prevent taking in more than what you need.
Myth #5: Coconut oil is a good source of omega-3
You can bust this myth very easily. Just look at coconut oil nutrition data and you'll see the truth.
Not all coconut oils are made equal. Some do not have omega-3. Even if there is, it only has very trace amount depending on the quality of coconut and the way it is extracted and processed.
Myth #6: Coconut oil is rich in vitamin E
Same as the previous myth. Scan through the nutrition data and you'll see that coconut oil contains only a petty amount of vitamin E.
That's definitely not enough to make your skin look good. It is actually the saturated fats and antimicrobials in coconut oil that help to keep your skin smooth and bouncy.
Saturated fats protect against free radical reactions and the antimicrobial fatty acids in coconut oil fight off cell-damaging germs that live on your skin.
Myth #7: Refined coconut oil is bad
Refined coconut oil may pale in comparison to virgin coconut oil, but that doesn't mean it's bad.
It is just a type of coconut oil that has gone through a relatively high temperature (about 220°F or 104 °C ) process. But that temperature actually does little to no harm to its structure, which is the crux to retain the beneficial properties.
Coconut oil only falls apart when you heat it until it smokes at about 350 °F or 177 °C. This is the point at which coconut oil's healthful properties change.
So, why refined coconut oil?
Not all people like virgin coconut oil. It comes with a coconut fragrance but some people just cannot stand it. They want it to be odorless. To meet the demand of these people, refined coconut oil is born.
Myth #8: Coconut oil clogs skin pores
If coconut oil clogs skin pores, I would've gotten countless whiteheads and pimples on my skin because I apply coconut oil to my skin every day.
I believe the two sources that lead to this myth come from first, coconut oil causes more breakouts when some try to treat their acne with coconut oil, and second, coconut oil turns into solid form in cold climate and clogs up pipes.
Let me address the first issue which is about having breakout after using coconut oil for acne.
I've read about some having really bad reactions with coconut oil but they stuck through the weeks and their skin got cleared. Why? That's because the breakouts are actually a toxin-purging effect from coconut oil.
I know it can shatter your faith during healing crisis. But that's the characteristic of coconut oil. You must get worse before you can get better, if you have lots of toxins buried beneath your skin.
The second issue is easier. Coconut oil begins to solidify at 76 °F (24 °C). But think about the temperature of your body. It falls between 97.7 °F (36.5 °C) and 99.5 °F (37.5 °C), right?
Do you think coconut oil will solidify on/in your skin even in cold weather? Of course not.
Therefore, coconut oil does not clog skin pores. If it does, anyone who put it on their skin will suffer breakouts. But the fact is, I don't. This could probably due to my cleaner meat-free diet. I have little toxins for coconut oil to expel through my skin. Toxins "help" to clog pores.
Myth #9: Coconut oil is a bad sunscreen
Some say coconut oil has a SPF of 4, some say 7 and some say 1. (The higher the SPF, the better it can help to block UVB.)
Apparently, these values are "man-made" and none of these people have tried coconut oil as a sunscreen. Even if they come up with a standard value, it is truly meaningless to me.
My wife and I have tested and proven the effectiveness of coconut oil against UVB (ultra-violet B).
Our 4-hour cycling in a super hot summer under a clear sky was the best evidence. We picked virgin coconut oil for this mission because we thought it can provide the best protection. So, we smear it on our face, arms and the back of our necks.
What we got at the end of the ride was just a little tanned skin. That's all.
I couldn't believe that at first. But after several hours our skin still showed no signs of sunburn, not even a least bit sensation of scorching. It was very different from the experience we had before when we put on commercial sunscreen.
It was then that I got amazed at the way coconut oil helps to protect against the sun.
But don't get me wrong. Coconut oil does not block or bounce off UV ray at all. In fact, it still allows UV ray to pass. The way coconut oil benefits our skin in such scenario is via its counter response on free radical activity, thanks to its saturated fats in abundance.
Saturated fats in coconut oil are very effective against oxidation. Free radicals are the ones promoting oxidation. But when free radicals meet saturated fats, free radicals simply freeze, even with the presence of UV ray, which can excite free radicals and make them even more destructive.
Myth #10: Coconut oil pulling helps to detox body and lose weight
I've heard many claims about that. I've done coconut oil pulling. My wife has done it too. But we just couldn't feel anything related to detox.
In fact, it's plain common sense that pulling with coconut oil should not effect any detox reaction, let alone weight loss. Let's find out.
Look, we spit out coconut oil 15–20 minutes after pulling with it. Now, what sort of detox can it offer for your body when nothing goes into your stomach?
Unless you gulp the yucky mixture (dead bacteria + fatty acids + saliva) from oil pulling, otherwise I really cannot figure out how just by simply swishing coconut oil in your mouth can cause weight loss.
Even if you swallow the mixture, I don't think it will help lose weight since the fat-burning medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil could have already been used up in killing bacteria. So, how much is left for boosting metabolism for weight loss? Think about it.
Are you getting more familiar now after I've blasted so many coconut oil myths out of water?
There's in fact a lot more to learn about coconut oil. I strongly suggest that you block out some good hours to explore the true benefits of coconut oil so that you know exactly what it can and cannot do. And you can stand firm in front of any coconut oil myths in future.
Standing firm means... your decision to using coconut oil will be made based on facts rather than on fictions.