Is Coconut Oil Bad for You?

Coconut Oil has recently become the go-to oil (it used to be olive oil!) and something that a lot of people consider indispensable when it comes to health. Some profess that it can cure heart disease or even help cure Alzheimer’s disease. Needless to say, it’s easy to see why people would want to flock towards utilising coconut oil, not just as moisturiser (which it also helps a lot with) but actually consume it in food. However, like all good things, the full story is a lot different.

According to Cerra Richling from Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, we can start with the fact that coconut’s multiple benefits hasn’t exactly been scientifically proven, to the point where a lot of people feel that it might just be a lot of hype for the sake of marketing.

It is true that there have been cases where it seemed to have helped people recover from Alzheimer’s, but the cases are few and far between, enough so that it’s hard for people to really tell if it was the coconut oil which offered that benefit.

There’s also the fact that coconut oil itself is high in saturated fact, with one teaspoon of coconut oil going well over the 13 grams a day that a person is allowed to have. It even has more saturated fats than butter (which is delicious)! This isn’t surprising considering that coconut oil is made from the ‘milk’ squeezed from the flesh of the fruit, which contains a lot of saturated fats.


The crazy thing about this is that consuming high amounts of saturated fat could actually cause heart disease, one of the things that coconut lauded for helping. Moreover, coconut oil contains lauric acids, which influences people’s cholesterol and can cause an increase in the chance of developing heart disease.

So, now you have to wonder, if all of that is true, then why has coconut oil been linked to helping with losing weight or even helping cure Alzheimer’s? Well there’s an answer to that too and it turns out that it lies on those same lauric acids.

It turns out that that same lauric acid also offers a lot of medium-chain triglyceride (known as MCTs). MCTs are easily assimilated and digested, so they could be the reason as to why coconut was linked with offering benefits for curing heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Fresh coconut oil in glassware on color wooden table and grid tray background

That being said, even if coconut oil still offers some benefits it is also recommended for you to not consume more than 13 grams of saturated fat a day.  Thus, balance is the key and if you are going to consume coconut oil, perhaps you might want to ensure that it’s less than a teaspoon a day? Nonetheless, coconut oil works as a great moisturizer and hair conditioner so go ahead and use that for beautiful skin and hair! Some people also swear by oil-pulling (gargling coconut oil for about 40 minutes before brushing one’s teeth to ‘pull’ out bacteria) due to coconut oil’s supposed anti-bacterial properties.

Oils and fats are not bad for you but too much can be. What we recommend is balance. Just be conscious of how much you’re consuming and enjoy your food.

On that note, are there any healthy foods that you really liked but find out they weren’t quite so healthy? Please share your experiences and opinions with us!

Photo Credits: Medical News Today, ProSource, EmpowHER

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