In Defense of Coconut Oil (Again)

By Darlene Kvist, MS, CNS, LN
August 30, 2018

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* This post was originally shared in June 2017, it has been slightly updated with more resources, but the gist (our love of coconut oil!) is still going strong. 

The hot nutrition topic in the news right now (as it has been before) is why coconut oil isn’t as beneficial as we’ve thought. To which, we want to respond that we completely disagree and here’s our reasoning. First, the recommendation to avoid saturated fats is not new; neither is the argument that saturated fats cause cardiovascular disease. Despite repeated claims that saturated fat and cholesterol are linked to cardiovascular disease, a large, controlled study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found "no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD."1

Nutritional Weight & Wellness has long recognized that saturated fats, including coconut oil, play an important role in the health of all our cells. In fact, the cell membranes and tissues in the brain and in the mitochondria contain high levels of saturated fat. Dr. David Perlmutter, a renowned neurologist, calls coconut oil a near perfect oil because of its ability to fight off inflammation to support both the brain and the body.

For more information on coconut oil benefits read this blog post by Dr. Mark Hyman Coconut Oil – Are You Coco-Nuts to Eat It?, specifically the section near the bottom entitled “Is Coconut Oil Healthy?”

For an even deeper understanding of dietary fats, read Know Your Fats by Dr. Mary Enig, an authority and respected researcher of fats. Dr. Enig recommends saturated fats, such as butter and coconut oil, because they are stable fats that do not damage the tissue like many vegetable oils (polyunsaturated fats), such as soybean, canola, and corn oils.

Resources:
Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Mar; 91(3):535-46.

About the author

Darlene founded Nutritional Weight & Wellness. In her 25 years as a counselor and nutritionist, Darlene has helped so many people change their lives using the power of real food. She is a licensed nutritionist who earned the title Certified Nutrition Specialist from the American College of Nutrition, a prestigious association of medical and research scientists to further nutrition research. She has served on the Board of Dietetics and Nutrition Practice for the State of Minnesota.

View all posts by Darlene Kvist, MS, CNS, LN

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Comments

Everardo
My own daughter who is a physician told me that coconut oil is bad for you. However when I was growing up, we used coconut oil all of the time and nobody got sick. My question is what's the truth about coconut oil.
June 21, 2017 at 12:57 pm

admin

Great question. Our belief is that the truth about coconut oil is what we've included in this blog post. 

Cheryl
I'm really glad to get your opinion and recommendation for further information. CBS had someone on the morning show that completely discounted the value of coconut oil, and in fact said it could raise cholesterol levels. Thank you for your information.
July 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

Rebecca McClendon
I have heard on your podcasts advocacy for coconut oil with respect to how it molecularly behaves versus other "good fats" when heated w respect to stability versus EVO - both being cold pressed. Can you add more research supporting your position to your blog than a suggested book on the stability of coconut oil. I believe you are doing your readers a dis-service in just saying "we say it is good"; and I know you have more evidence and research to support your position.
July 5, 2017 at 5:18 pm

Cheryl
Thank you so much for addressing this issue. I had heard a nutritionist talking about it on a media source last week and I really questioned what she was saying. I just knew I would hear something from the nutritionists I totally trust soon (and that would be your team). THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!!
July 5, 2017 at 6:47 pm

Jenni
Thank you for addressing this topic!
July 5, 2017 at 7:11 pm

Lynn Risch
Thank you. I have been waiting for a responce re the recent coconut oil statement about not eating it. Good news.
July 5, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Beverly Lokensgard
Thank you for the affirmation of what I already knew. I have two massage clients who swear by coconut oil, as they have been using it their entire lives. One is from Jamaica, and has been telling me about its benefits for several years now. She is healthy and has great skin. She uses coconut oil on her grandbabies daily, and says they have never had a diaper rash. She eats coconut oil daily. Since I buy my coconut oil by the gallon bucket, and use it daily, (beginning with my morning oil pull) I am happy to know that it hasn't suddenly changed to "evil".
July 9, 2017 at 10:00 am

Kim-Sue Tudor
There are inherited genetic disorders causing dyslipidemias, increases in lipids such triglycerides (e.g. saturated fats) and cholesterol. These individual are at risk for heart and vascular diseases. My question is, could the outcomes from these rare genetic diseases have been extrapolated to form the basis for "nutritional counseling" to avoid dietary saturated fats such as coconut oil? Also, are partially or fully hydgrogenated fats considered to be in the category of saturated fats?
July 9, 2017 at 1:31 pm

admin

The general recommendations to limit/avoid saturated fat for high cholesterol are for anybody with elevated lipids, whether it is a genetic condition or caused by lifestyle. Those recommendations weren't based on just those with a genetic condition affecting their lipids. Even if somebody has elevated cholesterol due to a genetic condition we would still recommend them to eat healthy fats including saturated fats such as coconut oil and butter. Hydrogenated oils are considered trans-fats, those should always be avoided. Trans-fats will be banned by the FDA beginning in 2018. 

Patricia Case
For 6 months I converted from olive oil to coconut oil. My lab tests showed my cholesterol shot up 100 points. Dr. said to go back to olive oil & in 3 months it dropped down by 100 points. I'm not going back to it!!
July 12, 2017 at 10:41 am

admin

Glad you found something that works for you, every body is certainly unique. 

T. Strand
I get that you say it is healthy, but what do I do with my health insurance who only cares about the number? I went to doctor & my labs showed great "good" cholesterol, but my "bad" cholesterol was 275. I know some is my gluten intake, but the only oils I use are coconut & butter.
July 26, 2017 at 10:31 pm

admin

Not all LDL is “bad”, in fact there are healthy types of LDL. It sounds like it would be best to make an appointment with a nutritionist to review your labs, lifestyle and eating to determine what type of action plan would be best for you. 

Alta Strassburg
I am interested in all ongoing information on the coconut oil issue.
September 6, 2018 at 7:37 pm

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