May 24, 2013

Update on Coconut Oil: The "All Hat, No Cattle" Nutrient

I've always liked that Texas rancher's description of someone who's all show and no substance. I've used it to describe a Texan who became president. But it came leaping back to mind as I considered doing an update on the over-hyped coconut oil, widely touted as a treatment for Alzheimer's based on anecdotal claims from people who, if you look closely, are making lots of money from pedaling the product.

The Coconut Oil / Alzheimer's Hype
There are countless websites, blogs, and videos touting coconut oil as an Alzheimer's "cure." The website for the "Coconut Research Center," for instance, includes this promise:
. . . there is a way to both prevent and reverse Alzheimer's Disease . . . the solution involves coconut ketones -- a high energy brain food.
I'm not the only blogger raising red flags. Here's another's take on the bogus claims:

I've played a game each time I see a website promoting coconut oil as an Alzheimer's remedy. I click on the "about us" link and -- lo and behold! -- I find profit motive. The "Coconut Research Center" (mentioned above) bills itself as a non-profit organization. A quick check reveals that the site is run by Bruce Fife, who sells books and products based on the coconut oil hype. That pattern of hype and profit repeats, time and again.

In the interest of fairness -- and in spite of my now firmly established suspicions -- I published a post last month about a 68-year-old man in England whose family swears his advanced Alzheimer’s has been effectively reversed by liberal daily doses of coconut oil. I had found the miracle story in the April 21 edition of the  UK's Mirror and felt I HAD to share it. I wrote: "As far as I can tell, this family, the newspaper, and the article’s author have no connection to product sales."

OK, here's a question: What’s the definition of a nanosecond?

Answer: The time elapsed between (A) the publication of a single positive report about coconut oil as a cure for Alzheimer’s and (B) the announcement of plans to turn details of that particular case into a movie.

And WHERE were these new movie plans announced? On the "Health Impact News" site, where the sale of coconut oil products is vigorously promoted, with offers of “buy one, get one free!” and “40% off!”

That internet site, on first blush, looks legitimate, even helpful. It includes pages devoted to:
  • Medicine Watch, 
  • Real Food Nutrition, 
  • Sustainable Agriculture, 
  • Alternative Health, and 
  • Coconut Health 
The fact that “Coconut Health” has its own page on this website is telling. There are rich sales opportunities from coconut products.

The speed-of-light reaction -- from story to film announcement -- shows the alertness of the coconut-oil-for-Alzheimer’s sales machinery. It quickly POUNCED on this one story, and no doubt has already seen some nice spikes in sales. Imagine the bonanza the product promoters will enjoy when the proposed film airs on TV and is promoted by the growing network of coconut oil hucksters!

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