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Health News Now Trending Opinion The Katchup

Coconut Oil Study Is Stirring Up ‘Unhealthy’ Fake News Murmurs

If you’ve come across a headline recently claiming that “Coconut Oil Is As Bad For You As Beef Fat and Butter” or seen similarly titled news articles, chances are you’ve stumbled across a piece of fake news.

These articles began to spread when the American Heart Association (AHA) released a review about fats that emphasized the health risks of saturated fat in coconut oil. And while, yes, coconut oil isn’t the health food the public perceives it to be, it’s not comparable to beef fat or butter, which contain cholesterol and are more directly linked to heart disease than saturated fat is.

Myself, Foodbeast Editor-In-Chief Elie Ayrouth, and Foodbeast Fatboy-In-Chief Rudy Chaney went deeper into the study and the fake news headlines surround it in the latest episode of Foodbeast’s podcast, The Katchup. Our discussion, which starts around the 19-minute-mark of the podcast, addresses why coconut oil shouldn’t be called a “health food,” but also doesn’t deserve the harsh treatment it’s getting from news outlets that call it “unhealthy” or compare it to animal fats.

The three of us concluded on the podcast that coconut oil isn’t really bad for us, but like any other saturated fat, you should consume in moderation. None of us would say that it’s as healthy as an omega-3 rich food like avocados, but we also wouldn’t put it at the same level of unhealthiness as butter. Doing so would deceive our audience and blow the truth of coconut oil out of proportion.

Unfortunately, news and science regarding food gets extremely convoluted by headlines that do just that, meaning that the public has distorted facts and can’t come to accurate conclusions about what they eat. It’s why the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) funded a documentary, Food Evolution, to highlight this issue, and why Neil deGrasse Tyson is willing to put his name and voice behind the film.

It’s now become very difficult to discern what’s true and not in media, especially around food and nutrition, and hopefully the ugliness of the headlines surrounding this coconut oil study and the message of Food Evolution can help begin to resolve this critical issue.

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Celebrity Grub Film/Television Video

Neil deGrasse Tyson Is Narrating This Must-Watch Film On GMOs And Fake News

If there’s one voice out there that’s as iconic as Morgan Freeman’s, it belongs to scientific genius and TV personality Neil deGrasse Tyson. Thanks to the Institute for Food Technologists (IFT), we’re getting another chance to hear Tyson as the narrator of a documentary on some of the biggest issues concerning the food industry.

The new film, called Food Evolution, is premiering in New York this week and will be spreading across the country through various screening events. The documentary centralizes on the debate of GMOs and food security and “demonstrates the desperate need for common sense, solid information, and calm logical deliberation,” as IFT puts it. Neither for nor against GMOs, Food Evolution instead aims to begin “a rational discussion around sound science” and highlight the “consequences” of forgoing scientific evidence and data for emotions and ideology to make decisions, especially with our food supply.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has made it clear in interviews that he didn’t choose to narrate and work on the script to convince people one way or another on GMOs. Rather, he wants to bring attention to the now commonplace issue of “fake news” in the world of science.

“Bad information got swept into a culture where people’s feelings overrode any hope of access to accurate, emerging scientific truths.”

To help ensure that the image of this film isn’t distorted to be for or against either side, IFT brought in Scott Hamilton Kennedy, a filmmaker with no ties to the food industry, no scientific background, and a neutral stance on GMO foods. Kennedy chose GMOs as the core issue of his film to serve as a proxy for the larger debate over the widespread public misunderstanding of science. An while IFT funded his work, the message and conclusions of the film were entirely those of Kennedy’s and the other filmmakers on his team.

So while the film will be a great information resource for those desiring to learn the truth about GMO and genetically engineered foods, Kennedy, Tyson, and IFT want viewers to walk away with a newfound understanding and trust of scientific communities. In doing so, you would help prevent what Tyson calls “the beginning of the end of an informed democracy.”