Coconut Had a Bad Week But We All Got a Lesson in Food Health Claims
[Posted on: Thursday, June 22, 2017]
This week the American Heart Association published a report rebuking coconut oil as one of the worst foods for heart health. The internet and new media used this report to thoroughly condemn coconut. Fair or not, this was a great learning moment for food manufacturers on changing fortunes linked to food health claims. The label “healthy” is highly coveted by most food. “Healthy” food is in high demand, can sells for higher price, and generally has a long-term following. I can still not make my kids drink milk that is not “organic” despite several publications showing that there is little difference in the nutritional value of organic milk compared to that of regular milk. A couple of years ago, when FDA stopped the makers of “Kind” fruit and nut bars from using the word “healthy” on their label, it took a court case and extensive social media campaign for the company to win over FDA. So, coming back to coconut, it is a natural food rich in saturated fats similar to butter and beef. And just like butter and beef, too much for coconut oil could be bad for heart health. But it is more complicated than that. Fat is one part of our diet and any one component usually would not be expected to contribute to one’s (un)healthy status. So while coconut oil will likely not be able to use the word “healthy” on its label, consumers will not stop eating coconut oil altogether. Now let’s wait for the next article on how bad is cheese for you, or may be pizza!