Coconut Oil; Myth or Facts

Coconut Oil Myth and Facts

Until recently, two things perpetuated a misunderstanding about coconut oil.

  • False and misleading pronouncements about coconut oil contributing to heart disease are still being actively propagated through the effort, and benefit of profit/politically inspired interest groups.
  • Persistent popular misconceptions centered around the term “saturated”. This is linked to cholesterol theory and heart disease dialogue.


Coconut Oil does not raised blood cholesterol levels. In brief, coconut oil is mostly medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) as opposed to vegetable oils, which are predominantly long chain fatty acids (LCFA’s) resulting to long chain triglycerides (LCT’s). There are tremendous differences in saturated fats that most health professionals are not aware:

  • Consumption of coconut oil had beneficial effect of increasing high-density lipoprotein (HDL) also known as “good” cholesterol.
  • Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that have natural antiviral, antibacterial properties. It contains lauric fatty acid that converts to monolaurin which is the same anti-microbial agent found in human mother’s milk.
  • Coconut oil if processed accordingly has an antioxidant character.
  • The MCFA in coconut oil are completely metabolized and passed out of the body whereas the LCFA in vegetables oils are stored as fat because the body cannot completely metabolize them.
  • Caprylic and capric acids (medium chains), which are relatively and uniquely high in coconut oil, diminish the requirements of essential fatty acids and therefore compensate for the deficiency of linoleic fatty acid.
  • Studies show a link between UV radiation (as in sunlight) with peroxidation of unsaturated fats, (BUT NOT saturated fats).
  • The partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (i.e. oil seeds), created to replace coconut oil, are now acknowledged to contain trans fats. (Trans fats raise bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower good cholesterol (HDL).

Therefore the propaganda against coconut oil is wholly incorrect. In fact, the proofs show coconut oil to have just the opposite effect. The reason is that not all saturated fats are dealt with by the body in the same manner. Industry groups are keeping the ‘saturated’ term in play as an emotional trigger without having to justify claims based on fact.

Extracted from Coconut: processing, varieties, and differences QFI, 2001.
Last revision: November, 2015