Plant of the week: Derivatives in weight loss products and used to fight viruses

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Coconut oil used to be one of the most popular fats used in the preparation of food products, such as cakes and biscuits, and in the cosmetic industry. It did not go rancid as rapidly as other oils and was believed to promote good health. In the 70s in the US research centred on the growth in their society of heart diseases and obesity. The conclusion was that the culprit was saturated fats, which have a high concentration of hydrogen and cholesterol, found in red meat, dairy products and coconut oil. The result did not disappoint the American producers of corn and bean oils that were able to dominate the market with their home grown unsaturated oils and claim that they were contributing to the health of the nation. Coconut oil producers, mostly from Southern Asia and the South Pacific, lost 70 per cent of the market.

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