Is Coconut Oil Really Healthy?

Julie Shenkman
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People use coconut oil all around the world to assist with heath, beauty and medical concerns, but this natural product lacks significant evidence that proves it’s effective with treatment or that it has health benefits. People are claiming the benefits of using coconut oil for different topical and internal uses, but scientists and researchers have their doubts. You may want to know the facts before you waste your money.

Coconut oil is a saturated fat, which could be harmful to the body, especially the heart, if consumed regularly. A shocking 92 percent of coconut oil is saturated fat, and there may as much as 12 grams in one serving. The America Heart Association recommends that no more than 5 to 6 percent of your calories come from saturated fats, so too much coconut oil could put you at the risk of heart disease and other health conditions.

It’s best to avoid cooking with coconut oil, and to instead use other nut and vegetable oils like olive and canola when preparing your meals. Some people will drink water infused with coconut oil, but this should be limited or avoided to unnecessary calories and fat intake. Coconut oil isn't just unhealthy compared to other oils — it's also often more expensive to buy.

Coconut oil has no vitamins or minerals, so those who consume it aren't getting any beneficial nutrients unless the beverage or edible item has been enhanced. It's best for people to avoid the intake of this oil and to instead try using it as a topical treatment on the outside of their body.

Coconut oil is commonly used on the skin as a moisturizer cream and has been proven more effective for topical treatment and cosmetic use than it is beneficial internally. It has also been used an anti-aging cream. The oil is a great organic option for the skin, and it has a gentle scent that makes it a popular beauty product. The moisturizing oil has even been used by people who have psoriasis or other severe dry skin complications.

The oil can be very dangerous for those that have sensitive skin or for those that have a nut allergy. It's best to get tested for a coconut allergy if you have other nut allergies that are life-threatening before consuming or using any products containing coconut oil.

If you are hoping that coconut oil is going to give you amazing health benefits and that you are going to be more energized or refreshed drinking it, you may want to save your money. Coconut oil is a product that hasn't been scientifically proven to benefit the body in any way, and instead you will be drinking a lot of calories that could actually cause you to gain more weight over time.


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  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    I try to do all natural myself, too @Joy. That is when I can. I have not used coconut oil but I do plan to give it a try. And @Susan, I plan to check out that book "Eat Fat, Lose Fat". It's kind of counter-intuitive to think about eating fat to lose fat but we need fat in our diet to be healthy. We give it to our animals to keep their hair healthy and shiny so why wouldn't it work the same way with humans?!

  • Franklin D.
    Franklin D.

    "Coconut oil is better than butter and trans fats but not as good as liquid vegetable oils," says Penn State University cardiovascular nutrition researcher Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD.

    Mozaffarian agrees that coconut oil is better than partially hydrogenated trans fats and possibly animal fats.

    "But even though coconut oil is cholesterol-free, it is still a saturated fat that needs to be limited in the diet and if you are looking for real health benefits, switch from saturated fats to unsaturated fats by using vegetable oils like soybean, canola, corn, or olive oil," says Kris-Etherton, a member of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines advisory committee and Institute of Medicine's panel on dietary reference intakes for macronutrients (which include fats).


    Google the benefits of coconut oil. Youtube videos by Dr. Mary Newport. It will blow your mind. I take all natural any day over medicine.


    Totally false information. This is the kind of fat that is HEALTHY. Study it. It also helps with cognitive performance. It is wonderful for the skin. You folks are all wet.

  • Joselito Facun
    Joselito Facun

    This is what my nutrition teacher told me and I was listening well.

  • Susan Fisher
    Susan Fisher

    A suggestion for you: "Eat Fat, Lose Fat" A book worth reading..

  • Bridgette  Howell
    Bridgette Howell

    All my life I thought that coconut oil is good for you people use it for hair and skin also for cooking I drink a lot of coconut water and jelly I only hope its not as bad as the oil

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