Epidemiologist Karin Michels told a nutrition conference that coconut oil is "pure poison" and "one of the worst foods you can eat". B.N. Srinivasa Murthy, Horticultural Commissioner of India, wrote a letter to the professor, which was obtained by the Washington Post, asking that the Dean "take the corrective measures and withdraw the comments" because she had made "negative statements against the revered harvest of billions". Coconut oil is a staple in Asian countries, especially in the southern regions. The conference was presented at a conference in Bangkok in August where the Asia Pacific coconut community – a gathering of officials from 18 different countries – has come together. Murthy said he could not understand what made Michels make this statement. Over the past decade, coconut oil, which was a relatively unknown cooking substance, has become a "superfood" that sparked a worldwide craze for staple foods in 2011. Now it has been denounced like a poison. The craze for superfoods has allowed coconut oil to be part of the cooking routine, the oil used in the dishes instead of using other oils cooking, to be mixed with smoothies for breakfast. But last year, the American Heart Association advised people to stop using coconut oil. The substance is rich in saturated fats, which are the main cause of heart disease. It is also harmful for people who already have high cholesterol because it increases the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body. 10 | Page COCOMMUNITY, VOL. XLVIII NO. 9, 1 September 2018 Rajesh Muralidharan, a cardiologist in Kerala, India, was frustrated by Michels' statements because he knew his patients would have more questions to ask him than he could answer. "The answer is that we do not have an answer. What we are trying to tell them is that all oils have fat and should be used as little as possible. Our ancestors have been using it for centuries. It's something in the blood, the taste of coconut oil.” Michels did not respond to the Indian request to withdraw his statements and the Harvard School of Public Health also declined to comment. AGAINST. Sunil Kumar, Minister of Agriculture of Kerala, also plans to write a letter to the Professor regarding his statements. "Our lived experience is that coconut oil is not a poison," he said. "Without coconut, there is no life in Kerala. It's true."
The COCOMMUNITY, VOL. XLVIII NO. 9, 1 September 2018