This acticle recently popped up on my newsfeed some time ago, shared by an estranged HS friend: 9 Foods You Should Never Eat, by Dr. Joseph Mercola, whose apparent popularity I've been totally unaware of (over half a million people "like" him). The title of the article, the way the information is presented and how the justifications behind each claim are made, are dishonest and questionable, despite whatever credentials he may have (I'm far too uninterested to verify).
I couldn't bear to read the entire thing, but I was curious to know why he condemns "Vegetable Oils". Dr. Mercola essentially says to avoid them at all costs because: they are the worse of all "destructive foods"; they turn rancid right when you cook them; cooking with polyunsaturated vegetable oils introduces oxidized cholesterol" into your system. Additionally, he recommends coconut oil for cooking for its high heat-stable saturated fat content. In a seperate article, he talks about coconut oil's "miracle" component being lauric acid, a fatty acid he claims to have "unique health-promoting properties."
I've got a few remarks to make, and points I'd like to further look into:
- Labelling vegetable oils as the worst of all "destructive foods" is pushing it a little. A lot.
- It is true that the degree of saturation in fat influences its stability, but in what way does cooking with polyunsaturated vegetable oils "introduce" "oxidized cholesterol" into our system in the first place? Vegetables oils do not contain any cholesterol, which can only be made endogenously by the liver, or come from animal-based food sources. I will have to consult with one of my professors on the mechanism behind this.
- Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat, and the correlation between diets high in saturated fat and increased risks for heart disease has been supported by countless numbers of studies (Whitney et al., 2012, and... countless numbers of research studies). Now, coconut oil may have health benefits that are worth looking into, and that I'm currently not in any position able to dispute, but to promote it in such a sensational way doesn't seem right to me. Also, lauric acid (what coconut oil is mainly composed of) actually raises blood cholesterol levels (Whitney et al., 2012) - this alone does not make it a "miracle" fatty acid. There are no such things as miracle ingredients.
Health Canada recommends the use of vegetable oils over any other oil, as they've been proven to lower cholesterol; I'm curious to know why a small fraction of professionals position themselves against such an established fact. Nutrition is a complicated science, one that is constantly evolving, so I'm definitely open to looking at new information and judging whether or not the evidence is adequately supported. There is, however, very little evidence behind Dr. Mercola's claims (and those of others who think the same). It therefore seems wrong and irresponsible of these professionals to post their opinions as facts for the apparent good of the public, when their claims have not yet been backed up by the global scientific community.