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Every time we cover research indicating that fat hurts your body, the immediate response is, "What about coconut oil?" Now, we have a great answer for you: Yes, it is a better option than the fats you'll usually find lurking in processed food, according to University of California, Riverside researchers.
Coconut oil is a better option than the fats you'll usually find lurking in processed food. Photo credit: Shutterstock
The researchers found that, compared to mice fed a high-fat diet based on coconut oil, mice fed a high-fat diet based on soybean oil gained more weight, had larger fat deposits and had increased instances of fatty liver with signs of injury, diabetes and insulin resistance. In fact, the mice on the soybean oil diet gained 25 percent more weight than the mice on the coconut oil diet did.
Previous research found similar negative health responses with corn oil.
This stands against a lot of the research that condemns saturated fats (like coconut oil) and hails polyunsaturated fats (like vegetable or soybean oils). In the 1960s, research that correlated saturated fat consumption with heart disease led to dietary guidelines that led to major increases in soybean oil consumption and now 60 percent of the edible oil consumed in the U.S. is soybean oil. However, the researchers point out that saturated fats from animal product have longer chain length than coconut oil, which could explain why we see the same cardiovascular disease with coconut oil as we do with fatty meats and cheeses.
"Since the 1950s, global production of this 'king bean' has skyrocketed, increasing 15 times over," says Jayson Calton, PhD, one of the authors of The Mirconturient Miracle. "Soybean oil, often listed as vegetable oil on labels, makes up 27 percent of the worldwide oil production, making it one of the most common forms of oil at the dinner table."
"There seems to be a ton of oils, margarines, and shortenings claiming to be healthy alternatives to saturated fats, such as butter, ghee, lard, tallow, duck fat, cream, palm oil and coconut oil," adds Mira Calton, CN, the other author of The Mirconturient Miracle. "Well, we are here to tell you that with the exception of the sparing use of organic extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, macadamia nut oil, flaxseed oil and chia oil, none of them are included in the Micronutrient Miracle plan."
One aspect that the researchers didn't evaluate was the fact that most soybean oil comes from GMO soy.
"According to 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, 94 percent of the U.S. soy produced is genetically modified" adds Jayson. "We don’t just avoid crops because of the lack of long-term safety data. We also dodge them because they are mineral deficient due to being sprayed with dangerous glyphosate, aka Roundup."
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By Will Sarni
It is far too easy to view scarcity and poor quality of water as issues solely affecting emerging economies. While the images of women and children fetching water in Africa and a lack of access to water in India are deeply disturbing, this is not the complete picture.
The Past is No Longer a Guide to the Future
We get ever closer to "day zeros" — the point at when municipal water supplies are switched off — and tragedies such as Flint. These are not isolated stories. Instead they are becoming routine, and the public sector and civil society are scrambling to address them. We are seeing "day zeros" in South Africa, India, Australia and elsewhere, and we are now detecting lead contamination in drinking water in cities across the U.S.
"Day zero" is the result of water planning by looking in the rear-view mirror. The past is no longer a guide to the future; water demand has outstripped supplies because we are tied to business-as-usual planning practices and water prices, and this goes hand-in-hand with the inability of the public sector to factor the impacts of climate change into long-term water planning. Lead in drinking water is the result of lead pipe service lines that have not been replaced and in many cases only recently identified by utilities, governments and customers. An estimated 22 million people in the US are potentially using lead water service lines. This aging infrastructure won't repair or replace itself.
One of the most troubling aspects of the global water crisis is that those least able to afford access to water are also the ones who pay a disproportionately high percentage of their income for it. A report by WaterAid revealed that a standard water bill in developed countries is as little as 0.1 percent of the income of someone earning the minimum wage, while in a country like Madagascar a person reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply would spend as much as 45 percent of their daily income on water to get just the recommended daily minimum supply. In Mozambique, families relying on black-market vendors will spend up to 100 times as much on water as those reached by government-subsidized water supplies.
Finally, we need to understand that the discussion of a projected gap between supply and demand is misleading. There is no gap, only poor choices around allocation. The wealthy will have access to water, and the poor will pay more for water of questionable quality. From Flint residents using bottled water and paying high water utility rates, to the poor in South Africa waiting in line for their allocation of water — inequity is everywhere.
Water Inequity Requires Global Action — Now.
These troubling scenarios beg the obvious question: What to do? We do know that ongoing reports on the 'water crisis' are not going to catalyze action to address water scarcity, poor quality, access and affordability. Ensuring the human right to water feels distant at times.
We need to mobilize an ecosystem of stakeholders to be fully engaged in developing and scaling solutions. The public sector, private sector, NGOs, entrepreneurs, investors, academics and civil society must all be engaged in solving water scarcity and quality problems. Each stakeholder brings unique skills, scale and speed of impact (for example, entrepreneurs are fast but lack scale, while conversely the public sector is slow but has scale).
We also urgently need to change how we talk about water. We consistently talk about droughts happening across the globe — but what we are really dealing with is an overallocation of water due to business-as-usual practices and the impacts of climate change.
We need to democratize access to water data and actionable information. Imagine providing anyone with a smartphone the ability to know, on a real-time basis, the quality of their drinking water and actions to secure safe water. Putting this information in the hands of civil society instead or solely relying on centralized regulatory agencies and utilities will change public policies.
Will Sarni is the founder and CEO of Water Foundry.
Note: This post also appears on the World Economic Forum.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Circle of Blue.
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