Coconut Controversy


Not long ago coconut was reviled as an unhealthy source of saturated fats.  Recently new research supports the opposite view: that coconut actually has health benefits, in particular with weight loss and controlling cholesterol.   However, whenever we speak about fats, we must address how much processing a fat has undergone. It is the same with coconut oil. 


In 1988 the world was told that tropical oils such as coconut and palm increase cholesterol, but according to Udo Erasmus, the Canadian authority on healthy fats, the facts used were wrong.  At that time most coconut was in the form of hydrogenated coconut oil and, as we now know, any oil that is hydrogenated is not a healthy fat.

Exposure to light and air will also degrade the oil and form trans fats. It is the trans fats that are related to increased cholesterol, not the saturated fat in coconut oil.


But what if we eat coconut in its natural state?  People in the tropics who eat coconut in its raw form swear by its many nutritional benefits. Is it a coincidence that the rate of heart disease is also low in the tropics?   Research has confirmed that raw coconut can be  used to care for skin and hair, relieve stress, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, aid in weight loss, support the immune system and proper digestion, and promote bone health.  Some proponents even go as far as to say that coconut can address kidney problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV and cancer.  (Coconut Research Center) 


Researchers at McGill University reviewed several studies showing weight loss equivalent to 12 – 36 pounds a year simply through switching from vegetable oil to coconut oil.


Dr. Bruce Fife, ND presents compelling clinical evidence that coconut oil can be used as part of diet program to stimulate weight loss and support healthy thyroid function. 

He has written two books: “The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil” and “Eat Fat, Look Thin.”


In order to enjoy the many health benefits of coconut oil, it is essential to consume organic, expeller pressed coconut oil and to avoid overheating it (ie. Frying).  Today this form of coconut oil is more readily available at health stores.  As to the amount to consume, this will vary for each person, but a good rule of thumb is to eat no more than you would other oils used in food preparation and salad dressings.