Coconut Oil: Good, Bad, or Undecided?

I'm a blogger and online business owner who writes on a variety of topics including health & wellness. I'm also a distributor with Herbalife (been with them off and on for years) and am extremely interested in anything related to living the best life possible by having a healthy knowledgeable relationship with food. Everything in moderation. Check out my Commentluv-enabled health blog.
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DSCI0427Over the years, the media and medical experts have really put the screws to coconut oil while a lot of island people, like my Dad, just laughed. He grew up eating natural, pure coconut oil, the fresh non-processed kind, so he felt that medicine was a little slow.

So here are some of the reasons why coconut oil was labeled “bad”:

It’s loaded with saturated fat – That’s right. It is high in saturated fat, which medical research indicates is a detriment to cardiovascular health.

Increases cholesterol – Because of it’s saturated fat content, the next logical assumption would be that it increases the low density lipoprotein (LDL) part of the total cholesterol panel.

Here’s what modern science is starting to realize about coconut oil that many cultures before them already found out so many years ago:

Boosts GOOD cholesterol

Lauric Acid is one of the components of the coconut including coconut milk. It’s a saturated fat that resides in the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) group, which is very easy to digest and is a great source of energy. Lauric acid does increase cholesterol but it does so by increasing the high density lipoprotein (HDL) part of the panel.  You want a higher HDL because it means you’re protecting yourself from cardiovascular disease; one of the major benefits of coconut oil

Monolaurin is lauric acid that’s been naturally converted by the human body. It is an antibacterial and has shown signs of being able to combat Staphylococcus Aurea.

Aids Digestion

According to research on coconut oil and malnutrition, patients are given pure coconut oil because the body doesn’t need use pancreatic enzymes to aid in digestion. Coconut oil digests quickly without taxing the body so the nutrition is absorbed quicker. For people with Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), this means that they have a chance to reduce the cramping and diarrhea associated with those diseases by incorporating coconut into their diet.  For people with diabetes, the benefits of coconut oil  means less stress on the pancreas and on the body overall.

Helps with Diabetes

One of the  issues with diabetes is insulin resistance. That happens when the cells don’t respond to insulin so the pancreas keeps pumping out more until it does. A diet consisting of coconut oil protects the body against this and actually reduces the accumulation of body fat. A research study published in Diabetes Journals suggests that diets composed of MCFAs like those found in coconut oil reduce insulin resistance in the muscles and fat accumulation, which may lead to obesity prevention. Between these and the other benefits of pure coconut oil , diabetics have an ally they can rely on to help them deal with the disease.

Other significant benefits of coconut oil include, but are not limited to:

  • Helps the skin stay supple and fight the signs of aging. It also has vitamin E, a known antioxidant which can help the skin heal.
  • According to a study done in the Phillipines, some HIV patients who took coconut oil over a 3-6 month period saw their viral loads decrease.
  • It contains caprylic acid, which is a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal agent

The list goes on and it’s growing.

Processing makes all the difference

One of the reasons why coconut oil has received such a bad reputation is based on the way it’s made. As I mentioned, my father grew up with pure coconut oil. The way it was made was by boiling the coconut milk until all that’s left was the oil. It was then bottled and used. That’s it. However, as with any commercial product, manufacturing companies need to do things faster and longer. As a result, some have used the hydrogenation process that gives the oil a higher smoke point. The problem is that this hydrogenation process creates trans fats, which are dangerous to the cardiovascular system.

Good, Bad or Undecided?

Nutritionally, the more natural and unprocessed form (i.e. organic, cold-pressed) of coconut oil has shown that it is extremely beneficial to body health inside and out. It is a fat, which means it has more calories and shouldn’t be eaten in overabundance. Despite the many health benefits, the medical community is still trying to qualify and quantify the benefits of pure coconut oil. Ayurveda practitioners and herbalists are already convinced of its benefits based on years of use and observation. The only question is the public.

Based on these facts, what do you think about Coconut Oil?


  1. Really quiet informative post.
    As i belong to different genre but really very great sharing. Well wasn’t knowing about it’s goods and bads till now :)
    keep sharing!!!
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  2. Twitter:
    Really interesting facts! People start to be more and more concerned about what they eat and the effects they get and this article is very useful for those that want to replace other oils and cook healthier!
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  3. Twitter:
    Nice share and updating of knowledge about coconut oil.
    James recently posted..We are pleased to announce a new venture into the world of Google Glass!My Profile

  4. Twitter:
    Hey Dianne,
    Nice post and Thanks for sharing this post with us. I learned lots of good stuff related to coconut oil about which I never heard.
    Sudipto recently posted..Best Android Phone Under 20000My Profile

  5. Twitter:
    I think the generally rule that applies here is “Too much of anything is not good” but yes the coconut oil has its own benefits when you use it wisely
    Suraj recently posted..Far Cry 3: Secure the Outpost Mission ObjectivesMy Profile

  6. Twitter:
    Hi Dianne
    Use of Coconut oil is very common in coastal regions in India. I also belong to coastal region and familiar with Coconut oil , never used though. It is really good to know all the goodness of coconut oil. Thanks for the information.
    Kumar Suhas recently posted..Competitor analysis -parameters for competitor website researchMy Profile

  7. Hello Dear

    i am indian and my family are using coconut oil daily in fact i am also using coconut oil for my hair actually my mom is Diabetes patients and she is eating every day, so thanks for sharing me

  8. Being able to live in a tropical island where coconut is abundant, I can attest as to how useful and beneficial coconut oil can be.
    Connor Harley recently posted..Business to Business Marketing StrategiesMy Profile

  9. Nick Davison says:

    I eat loads of Coconut milk since I put it in my smoothies, but being in the UK its hard to find anything other than canned. I really find that the quality varies from brand to brand of canned Coconut milk, some have loads of fat, and some are a bit lower in fat. Also I noticed that some of the low fat ones have a nasty processed taste to them its hard to din a balance between low fat and good canned Coconut milk.

  10. Twitter:
    Despite it’s not medicaly proven, cocunut oil has widely used by traditional and cosmetic products.
    Hadi N recently posted..Cara Menghilangkan Komedo Yang BenarMy Profile

  11. Twitter:
    It’s interesting that you are writing about this.

    My opinion is coconut oil is very good for tons of reasons.

    It’s good for hair and skin and tons of other great uses like making natural deodorant.
    Darnell Jackson recently posted..How to Generate Traffic and Leads for Your Business pt.2 – Think OUTSIDE the boxMy Profile

  12. Leslie Edwards says:

    Thanks for the facts about coconut oil! My friends always made me believe that coconut oil and milk are bad but I think they’re wrong!

  13. Twitter:
    hi Dianne,
    as you have questioned at last to give us the feedback, after reading the whole article, I found that the coconut oil is a sort of good one. Rather than some negative points, it has lots of beneficial aspects associated with it!
    yogesh pant recently posted..Google page rank updateMy Profile

  14. Twitter:
    Hello Dianne..
    Thanks for sharing the benefits of coconut oil. Regular use of it is beneficial for us.
    Mahendra recently posted..List of best torrent sites for movie downloadMy Profile

  15. Twitter:
    Great post, I don’t have any real idea about the pros or cons of coconut oil. Thanks for sharing this.
    Prakash recently posted..Hike Messenger Download for Symbian, Android, PC, iPhone, BlackberryMy Profile

  16. This is really amazing that coconut has such benefits. It can protect from cardiovascular disease, diabetes and coconut oil can also help in digestion. Very interesting and unique post. Thanks.
    Jennifer Hardy recently posted..Five Things to Do When Getting PregnantMy Profile

  17. Twitter:
    Ya really a nice i dont use coconut oil,but after reading this artical i knew lots about it.thanks

  18. Twitter:
    Hi Dianne,

    Coconut oil is certainly a one the most talked about topic among scientists regarding its benefits and bad effects. Though through various studies it’s been proved both good and bad to our health. So in my opinion we should take it in limited quantity, because excessive take can most probably expose us for bad effects.
    Shailender recently posted..Knowing That You Are Full – Are You Eating Enough or Too Much?My Profile

  19. Twitter:
    Hi Dianne, ya you are absolutely correct, this oil is used for different purposes, this is my personal experience.
    Raj kumar recently posted..Cool Countdown Timer Scripts for Your ProjectsMy Profile

  20. I absollutly agree with you.

    Coconut oil is healthy and have many positive effect.
    sandi recently posted..Hollywood Walk of FameMy Profile

  21. I have beem contemplating a low-oil (not low fat) diet and this post is a good look at both sides of coconut oil. Thank you for sharing…
    Evan recently posted..Best Premium Media WordPress themesMy Profile

  22. Nice article. Hydrogenation does seem to be the main culprit when it comes to oils that are deemed “unhealthy”. But science is even now finding that saturated fats, in reasonable amounts, can be healthy.
    Jason recently posted..Nitric Oxide for Working Stiffs – Say N.O. to Erectile DysfunctionMy Profile

  23. So Informative post about coconut oil Thank you for sharing and give me good healthy knowledge.
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  24. Its a good question that Coconut oil is good or bad? I lke the concept.Coconut oil may have properties like a natural antibiotic that renders some viruses, bacteria and fungi inactive. .But when coconut oil is hydrogenated it becomes a trans fat, and trans fats are bad news. Trans fats have been closely associated with heart disease because they not only increase LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) LDL cholesterol are associated with heart disease

  25. I think it’s great. I have a table spoon of coconut oil everyday. It does wonders
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  26. charles Leahy says:

    Great alternatives to cook more healthy food, I notice people being much more concerned nowadays about what they eat! Then again I do along with everyone else live on toasted sandwiches from the toaster in our university room :-)
    Great post! Keep up the fantastic work!

  27. Twitter:
    I love eating coconuts alot. I sure would have benefited from all these benefits. Thanks for sharing.

  28. I was introduced to pure coconut oil at a mind, body and soul festival a while ago and I quite like the taste. I try to have it once a day and I think it is doing me good. No complaints here.
    Kristine recently posted..A Day in Leura, Blue MountainsMy Profile

  29. Twitter:
    Love organic stuff, eating proper coconut I’m sure won’t cause any bad effects.
    Best regards from I. C. Daniel
    I. C. Daniel recently posted..Vaz 2105 v 1.0 – Farming Simulator 2013 ModsMy Profile

  30. Twitter:
    It’s great Dianne that you are spreading the word about coconut oil since it is such a wonderfully healthy oil that more people should know about. There is so much misinformation about good fats vs bad fats and unfortunately the general public is told time and again the wrong information.
    I’ve read a few articles recently about how regular daily use of coconut oil is improving Alzheimer’s symptoms (not a cure but it does seem to be helping a great deal) I just wish there was more peer reviewed studies being done so the medical community could get on board as well.
    Chris recently posted..What is Oil Pulling? Benefits of Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil or Sesame OilMy Profile

    • Twitter:
      I could not agree with you more. I think people are looking for someone or something to blame for health issues and anything with the words “fat” or “oil” is the enemy. For generations, people have taken certain oils in their most natural forms and they have had low incidents of certain diseases. I think there needs to be more talk about all sides of these oil, like coconut, avocado, olive, rice bran…and how they can and should be used to our benefit. Thanks for your insight, Chris
      Dianne recently posted..Coconut Milk: High in Saturated Fat Food & Still Good For YouMy Profile

  31. Twitter:
    There is a lot of rage regarding coconut oils and milks now a days and for good reason. I know I recommend people to use coconut oil for hair growth because of the great nutrients it provides. Your article only justifies this further!

    Thanks for the great read.
    Corey Frankosky recently posted..5 Ways to Reduce Hair Loss In MenMy Profile

  32. Twitter:
    helo Dianne the coconut oil is healthy and i use it for my hairs, it also reduce the dandruff.
    it is also good in taste and reduces the diabetes problem too.
    so coconut oil is good not bad.
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  33. Twitter:
    I buy organic cold pressed coconut oil these days and use it as a moisturizer for my face and body and also for cooking. I love the smell, which reminds me of holiday’s spend on the beach, so coconut oil is good for mind, body and soul :-)
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  34. very nice submit, i actually love this website, carry on it , i’m sure that Coconut oil is healthy and have many positive effect.

  35. Twitter:
    In my views i think that Coconut is good for health it can be used for different uses like as hair oil,reducing cholestrol level and much more..
    himanshu recently posted..Best apps on ICS android in 2013My Profile

  36. Twitter:
    Coconut oil is great for here and I’m a big fan. My hair was thin and falling and it affected my self-esteem, my mother suggested I use coconut oil for my hair and it worked wonders. My mother uses a little bit of it for cooking as well for its excellent health benefits.
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  37. Tony Nguyen says:

    Hi there Dianne, this is a very interesting post that you made. I am a fan of coconut oil and in my place, people make it by themselves and most cocconut oil on the market is handmade so they are actually very famous for its good sides. I havent seen oil that are made in factories so this is very new to me. Thanks for sharing.

  38. Despite all that I’ve read here, I still don’t trust oil palm. I interviewed a french nutritionist (a kind of star that has his own show on television) and he explained me that the only advantages oil palm had to provide was for companies, not human beings. Thus, let me be a bit disappointed by this article.

  39. Twitter:
    I totally agree that coconut oil that is naturally processed (most brands are NOT) is extremely healthy. I use it to sautee vegetables, fry potatoes, make hashbrowns and eggs. It very rarely cook with any other oil. I use olive oil for salad dressings and coconut oil for cooking and baking. I buy mine in 5 gallon tubs directly from Tropical Traditions.

    Science has a very black and white perspective about everything they study. They do not look at the big picture – and without that you will continually draw incorrect conclusions. I love the way you started this post calling attention to precisely that. If you ever want to do guest posts elsewhere contact me.

    • Twitter:
      Hi Gail! It’s true. I love medical science but it’s not the whole picture. There are other sides to the story that have existed long before it and I see no reason why both can’t coexist and even complement each other. I’ve found some doctors that understand that so it’s changing little by little.
      I am hoping to learn how to create my own just to see what it’s like. When that happens, I’ll definitely share. I’ll be in touch re: guest posts
      Thanks Gail :)
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  40. Every phyto-oil is good for our health, including coconut oil.
    I like your nice post, really.

    Thank you.
    Ilmu Kimia recently posted..Ekstraksi TembagaMy Profile

  41. Twitter:
    Hi Ilmu,
    I tend to agree with you and would add, it depends on how its processed. The commercial stuff sometimes doesn’t work out so healthfully. Thanks for the “thumbs up”
    Dianne recently posted..Taking Care of Your Teeth: Why Gum Disease Is More Harmful Than You ThinkMy Profile

  42. I love coconut oil. I buy it in the huge tubs at Costco. I think it is far superior to hydrogenated oils and I think that plant based saturated fats are totally different from animal ones.

    Just don’t use it on your hair. That was a disaster!

  43. I always use it for my hair. It have nice smells. Not may people really like it. But it does have benefit for us. Just use it wisely.

  44. Thanks for this information..
    I must say that coconut oil is healthy but in proper use.

    great article!
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  45. Carmen Z. says:

    I don’t understand all the controversy with coconut oil. Yes, it’s a saturated fat but it’s a Medium chained triglyceride. Oils are classified as either saturated or unsaturated; but they are also classified by their size. There are long-chained, medium-chained and short-chained fatty acids (oils/fats).
    Long-chained oils can be used for energy or stored as fat while medium chained oils (or triglycerides) are burned off. While most oils (99%) are long chained, coconut oil is a medium chained triglyceride (MCT), meaning it will provide you with energy and not be stored as body fat. The reason is because MCT fatty acids go directly to the liver where they are converted into energy. Where LCT or long chained fatty acids have to be absorbed by the body and made into lipoproteins. Then those lipoproteins circulate throughout the rest of the body and are absorbed by cells and tissues.
    MCT oils are easily digested; unlike other fats, they hardly put any strain on the digestive system making them easily absorbed, providing a quick source of energy.. Coconut oil has been shown to increase HDL, the good cholesterol. Isn’t that what we want for heart health? BTW, great hyperlink on MCFA, diabetes and obesity in mice. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Twitter:
      Thanks Carmen. You make complete sense but when you market the message that “fat is bad” people tend to “throw out the baby with the bath water” so to speak. There are a lot of messages out there about oil and fat and the only one that seems to be getting through is Olive oil. People need to wade through all that to get through to the facts and learn their options. There will always be controversy with this oil and the many others like it.
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