Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » The Good and Bad of Coconut Oil

The Good and Bad of Coconut Oil

You’ve likely heard a lot about coconut oil and it’s various health uses of late.  Coconut oil is the edible oil retrieved from matured coconuts. It’s used for food and medicine as well as for industrial purposes. However, a lot of controversy focuses on coconut oil as a food, even though many folks swear by it for promoting weight loss, treating Alzheimer’s disease, and more.

Let’s examine the good and bad of coconut oil in a nut shell (or rather in a coconut shell) to help you determine if it’s worth buying…


1. Miracle Weight Loss Food?

Let’s start with coconut oil as food. Perform a simple Internet search and you’ll find that while many sources dub coconut oil a miracle food—others condemn it for all sorts of reasons—from debunking studies that reveal it’s high saturated fat content.

Is coconut oil the next super food that will solve all of your problems? Unfortunately, despite what you’ve heard, no, it’s not. Don’t get me wrong—while coconut oil has been touted for aiding weight loss efforts—there is zero scientific evidence to back up that claim.

2. Treatment of Diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease

The same lack of scientific evidence exists when it comes to claims that coconut oil is effective in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease—mainly due to the medium chain triglycerides within. Again, there have been no human studies to suggest this claim is true.

Other publications have suggested that coconut oil helps prevent and treat diabetes. The reasoning behind this claim is that the fats within help lower blood glucose levels. In the end, the verdict is still out on these claims too.

3. Saturated Fat Content

All right; so we’ve done the debunking. Let’s talk about the saturated fats in coconut oil. It should be no surprise that the oil was originally condemned by many health gurus, for containing a large amount of saturated fats—and we’re told that saturated fats are bad for us, right?

While it’s true that saturated fats increase bad (LDL) cholesterol—challenging studies, particularly one out of University of California, Berkley, claim that the saturated fats in coconut oil aren’t as bad as saturated fats found elsewhere. This is because the fatty acid in coconut oil comes from lauric acid, which has been linked to raising good cholesterol (HDL) as well as bad cholesterol.

4. Coconut Oil vs. Cholesterol

When it comes to coconut oil and its affects on both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol, a 2009 Brazilian study, which was published in the journal, Lipids, stands out among the rest.

For the study, researchers monitored the diets of young obese women who ate an ounce of coconut oil daily over a period of 12-weeks.  All participants showed increases in both LDL and HDL cholesterol. However, their good (HDL) cholesterol improved significantly more. With this in mind, we suggest that consuming coconut oil is healthy—as long as it’s in moderation.

5. Coconut Oil Uses

So when it comes to food, coconut oil is best used to replace other oils as an alternative. For instance, those with dairy allergies or intolerances, may find coconut oil a friendly baking and cooking alternative compared to butter or dairy-based margarines.

As for other tasty uses—coconut oil can be blended into smoothies, baked into granola, and used as an oil for frying—as opposed to butter or lard.

6. Non-Food Uses

So maybe coconut oil isn’t the healthiest food choice, and perhaps you should mindfully consume this oil in moderation, as with other healthy type fats (i.e., olive oil, nut butter, etc.). However, coconut oil’s uses go far beyond food alone. This oil actually has some useful functions as a multipurpose medicinal substance.

For instance, coconut oil is often used a moisturizer to soothe and prevent dry skin. In fact, many infuse this oil into soap, in chap sticks to help to moisturize lips, or use it as a massage oils, or sleek and shiny hair aid to help prevent protein loss and provide moisture retention.


More on ActiveBeat
  • Multiple Myeloma: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors and Treatment
    You’ve probably never heard of multiple myeloma and that’s understandable because it’s an extremely rare type of cancer.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Best Exercises for Ankylosing Spondylitis
    Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a form of arthritis that affects the spine, but can affect other joints as well.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Tips Every Patient Should Know About Invisalign Braces
    A person's smile is one of the first things that is noticed about them. This is why so many of us will spend so much time and money on our teeth.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Signs and Symptoms of Borderline Diabetes
    Most of us have heard of diabetes before and probably even know someone who has it! But have you ever heard of the condition borderline diabetes (or prediabetes)?
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • What to Know About the Side Effects of Immunotherapy
    Most of us have been affected by cancer in some way or another, either through a friend, family member, or maybe that person is you.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Causes and Risk Factors for Heart Valve Disease
    Anytime a person has something wrong with their heart, it's scary. Our heart is such a powerful organ, one that seems to sit at the center of our wellbeing and functioning.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Best Foods for Women's Health
    Some people (myself included) tend to put more emphasis on the amount of exercise we get in a day rather than what we're eating.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Leaky Heart Valve: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments
    We all view our heart as our most precious and vital organ, and with good reason! Not only do we need our heart to survive, but we also need it to withstand a lot and function...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Everything to Know Before Getting Dental Veneers
    A smile is one of the first things we about someone else and for many people and for some people,  a smile reflects confidence.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Anti-Aging Diet: Best and Worst Foods to Eat
    None of us can avoid aging or even slow it down, but there are things we can do to make the process a little smoother.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Pros and Cons of Dental Veneers
    For most people our teeth are really important to us because it's one of the first things we notice about another person's appearance.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Symptoms of Sugar Withdrawal and How to Cope
    There are so many amazing health benefits that come from cutting out sugar. Not only does it reduce a person's risk of developing diabetes or heart disease, it also helps them lose...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Types of Treatment for Immunotherapy
    Immunotherapy is a relatively new form of cancer treatment that has begun gaining recognition in the past few decades as it uses the body's natural immune system to fight...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Mesothelioma Stages: What to Expect
    Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer that is often caused by asbestos exposure. It's an "aggressive, malignant cancer caused when inhaled asbestos fibers lodge in the lining of...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Kidney Cancer Diet Tips: Foods to Eat, Foods to Avoid
    Kidney cancer (also known as renal cancer) is a disease that causes cells in the kidney (those two bean-shaped organs in the lower abdomen) to become cancerous and grow out of...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice