Coconut Oil: Is it Good or Bad for You?

Coconut oil has enjoyed a great deal of popularity for its cooking properties (high smoking point), flavor, and for its “health” properties. Coconut “oil” is a saturated fat, and for the most part saturated fats (e.g., animal fats) are thought to raise LDL cholesterol which is linked with increased heart disease risk. However, coconut oil seems to also raise HDL, the type of cholesterol that’s thought to lower heart disease risk. So what does this mean? It means we should keep following current recommendations regarding dietary fat: eat mostly mono- and polyunsaturated fats (olive and canola oils, nuts, nut butters, avocado, seafood) and keep fat intake moderate (30-35% of calories) as nutrition science continues to tease out the relationship between dietary fats and health.