Why is coconut oil bad?

In the brief guide, we are going to answer the question ‘Why coconut oil is bad’ with a detailed analysis of what safety measures are to keep in mind when used in our daily routine.

Why is coconut oil bad?

Coconut oil can have a number of advantages when used topically for moisturizing and in moderation. Even yet, there are a few possible health hazards to be aware of, such as the oil’s high content of saturated fat. 

High consumption of coconut oil significantly increases LDL-cholesterol as compared with nontropical vegetable oils. 

While coconut oil intake also increased HDL-cholesterol concentrations, efforts to reduce cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk by increasing HDL-cholesterol have been unsuccessful. 

There was also no evidence of benefits of coconut oil over nontropical vegetable oils for adiposity or glycemic and inflammatory markers.

Consequently, it is essential to recognize that coconut oil cannot be considered a healthy oil for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Given its significant saturated fat content, it is prudent to limit the consumption of coconut oil. (1)

What is the nutritional profile of coconut oil?

Coconut oil is made with 92% saturated fatty acids, 6 percent monounsaturated fatty acids and 2 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids. 

A half cup (100 grams) of fresh coconut contains: 354 calories, 15g carbohydrates, 9g fiber, 3g protein, 33g total fat, 30g saturated fat, 1.4g monounsaturated fat, 0.4g polyunsaturated fat, 0mg cholesterol (2)

All of the coconut oil predominantly contains lauric acid as high as 48.40%–52.84% of the fatty acid content with the total medium‐chain fatty acids (MCFA) being in the range of 65.7%–71.3%. 

The phenolic compounds in the coconut oil were found in a certain amount depending on the processing method. (3)

Is using coconut oil regularly unhealthy?

Coconut oil should not be viewed as healthy oil for cardiovascular disease risk reduction and limiting coconut oil consumption because of its high saturated fat content is warranted. (1)

There is no compelling evidence that coconut oil consumption, as opposed to unsaturated oils, leads to improved lipid profiles and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

How does coconut oil fare compared with plant oils?

Compared to cis unsaturated plant oils, coconut oil can raise total cholesterol, HDL-C, and LDL-C levels, albeit to a lesser extent than butter. The impact of coconut oil consumption on the total cholesterol to HDL-C ratio was often unreported. 

Based on the current body of evidence, it is suggested that replacing coconut oil with cis unsaturated fats would lower the risk of CVD. As so there is no support for popular claims promoting coconut oil as a healthy oil for reducing CVD risk. 

There is no evidence to suggest that coconut oil consistently differs from other saturated fats in its effects on blood lipids and lipoproteins. (4)

Why cook with coconut oil?

One notable advantage of coconut oil is its high degree of saturation, which contributes to its resistance to oxidation and polymerization. 

This characteristic makes coconut oil more stable than other oils, making it suitable for long-term storage and cooking purposes. 

It can be effectively used for single-use shallow frying, although it is not recommended for deep-frying due to its relatively low smoke point. (5)

What is the smoke point?

The smoke point refers to the temperature at which a fat or oil begins to produce continuous wisps of smoke, indicating potential degradation. 

Generally, fats with higher smoke points are more suitable for deep frying, while those with a smoke point below 200 °C are not recommended.

Unrefined coconut oil has a smoke point of 177 °C. Therefore, coconut oil is better suited for shallow frying, which typically involves cooking at lower temperatures. (6)

Does coconut oil have health benefits?

It is important to approach the health claims surrounding coconut oil with caution, as the available evidence remains limited or inconclusive in several areas.

There is limited but consistent evidence supporting the topical use of coconut oil for the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis, as well as its use in “oil pulling” for preventing dental caries. 

Additionally, coconut oil products may have potential in preventing hair damage caused by protein loss during grooming and exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, although further studies are required to validate this effect.

However, there is limited evidence to support the use of coconut oil for preventing or treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, bone loss, or glycemic control. (5)

Other FAQs about Coconut that you may be interested in.

How to keep coconut oil soft?

Where does coconut water come from?

Why does coconut water turn pink?


In the brief guide, we discussed answering the question ‘Why coconut oil is bad’ with a detailed analysis of what safety measures are to be kept in mind when used in our daily routine.


  1. Neelakantan N, Seah JY, van Dam RM. The Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Circulation;141(10):803-14. 2020.
  2. Marcus, J. B. Lipids Basics: Fats and Oils in Foods and Health. Culinary Nutrition, 231–277. 2013.
  3. Ghani NAA, Channip AA, Chok Hwee Hwa P, Ja’afar F, Yasin HM, Usman A. Physicochemical properties, antioxidant capacities, and metal contents of virgin coconut oil produced by wet and dry processes. Food Sci Nutr.6(5):1298-1306. 2018.
  4. Eyres L, Eyres MF, Chisholm A, Brown RC. Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans. Nutrition reviews;74(4):267-80. 2016.
  5. Wallace, T. C.  Health Effects of Coconut Oil—A Narrative Review of Current Evidence. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 1–11. 2018.
  6. Boateng L, Ansong R, Owusu WB, Steiner-Asiedu M. Coconut oil and palm oil ‘s role in nutrition, health and national development: A review. Ghana Med J. 50(3):189-196. 2016.

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