Doctor's Note

For more on coconut oil:
Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?
Does Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s?

For further context, see my associated blog posts: Stool Size and Breast Cancer Risk and Soy milk: shake it up!

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • Veguyan

    Does this mean that since my LDL, Direct is 77, it’s okay for me to consume coconut oil? Or should I shun it completely?

    Does eating coconut oil have any benefits?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      That is fantastic and likely a tribute to a very healthful diet! We should probably shoot for 70, though, so I would recommend cutting out saturated animal fats, trans fats, as well as cocoa butter, coconut oil, and palm kernel oil.

      • Kristen

        Doctor: My HDL is 128, so I have absolutely nothing to worry about, but I still do consume healthy fats such as olive, canola, and coconut oils. Doctors tell me that I have the highest HDL that they’ve ever seen! I am not a vegan but closer to a partial vegetarian. If I eat meat, it is normally fish or chicken.

        I personally thought that LDL cholesterol should be around 50, not as high as 70! So I wonder what Veguyan’s HDL is? My husband has low HDL (around 36) and high LDL, at 95. The scale from his lab results printout for LDL was 0-99.
        I have heard over and over again that coconut oil is healthy for you; however was surprised to see that it is almost ALL saturated fat! I guess because it is not oil from an ANIMAL source, but a PLANT source, that is why it is good for you.
        I have also heard that Plant Sterols can be beneficial in increasing one’s HDL levels. It there any science behind that?

        • Alax Neiswonger

          It does not matter as much the source (plant vs animal) as the composition of the nutrients. Saturated fat is saturated fat and should be limited.

      • Justin Ervin

        I’m sorry but I disagree. Coconut Oil is an effective oil that contains Medium Chain Triglycerides which has been proven to have a ketogenic effect when used in the proper diet of dense organic fat content, moderate protein intake, and lowered (next to non-existent) carbohydrate intake.

        I effectively cut out all my carbohydrates and replaced my body’s energy source with fats and proteins in lieu of carbohydrates.

        I suggest, if you haven’t already, researching the benefits of MCT oils, their ketogenic effects as part of something called a LCHF MCT Ketogenic Diet, and how it can benefit healthwise. This diet was actually used long ago to help treat children with autism before the dawn of medications that treat autism in the modern day. Fats aren’t as bad as the world makes them out to be. It’s a longer lasting slower burning fuel, much like protein, that gives the body more energy in the long run.

        I’m diabetic and this diet alone completely regulates my blood sugar levels without much insulin required to stay stable. I used to have to take somewhere in the neighborhood of 350 total units of insulin. Now I barely take above 50 and most of that is long acting only.

        • People focus on MCT but ignore other harmful ingredients, the very point of this video. And you have diabetes and still haven’t clued in that it’s the fats and you still have to take insulin. Diabetes is caused from intramuscular fat which blocks the insulin from working. People on a high starch diet can completely reverse type 2 diabetes. Re: autism there are all sorts of crazy things that people have attempted to solve their ills but this is a science based page.

          Coconut oil is high in saturated fat, higher than many animal products. Ketosis is very unhealthy as every cell of our body runs on carbs – ketosis is what happens when we starve or are seriously ill without glucose. High fat diets are deficient in fiber as well so people end up constipated, bad breath, etc. Animal products comes with harmful protein, heme iron, IGF-1, neu5gc. People will develop heart disease as well from all the cholesterol and saturated fat. Plus a life without carbs is not much of a life!

          • Justin Ervin

            Apparently you haven’t done your research.

            1. Ketosis is not harmful. Every human being experiences ketosis to some degree.

            2. Ketogenesis is a Good thing for the heart and brain. These organs actually prefer ketone derived energy vs carbohydrates.

            3. So that’s what causes diabetes then? Odd because i thought that the whole issue was that my body decided one day it would be cool to attack itself given the auto immune nature of the disease. But hey I’m going to inform that JDRF that they need to attack fatty foods.

            4. My nutrition profile is optimal actually. I eat plenty of vegetables with this diet that supplement my fiber needs as well as vitamin sources. I also supplement one meal a day with shakeology.

            5. Life without carbs? Seriously all food is is fuel for the body. Fats and proteins are broken down to glucose energy just like carbohydrates are except fats and proteins provide a longer baseline of energy than carbohydrates do. I have lost weight and gained a lot of muscle in this diet.

            5. Fats are not harmful if they replace carbohydrate fuel. My cholesterol levels are fine.

            If this is a science based page then you should have researched what ketosis truly is. A high starch diet was killing me. A heavy carbohydrate diet kept me in the hospital. This is the only thing that has made any headway with my disease. Of course i still have to take insulin. My pancreas it’s permanently damaged. But my insulin requirements are extravagantly lower than a dumb high carb diet. I have more energy and more stamina as well.

          • Thea

            Justin: Below is some information gathered about Ketosis that I copied from a great poster, Rami. The evidence against Ketosis seems pretty damning to me. Thought you would want to know about all these studies.

            Glad you feel you are doing better. Maybe your disease/particular situation makes ketosis helpful for you. But for normal humans, it does not appear to be a good idea. See below.

            from Rami: Ketogenic diets (very low carb, high fat) have been shown to be helpful with children with epilepsy for the short term. All other aspects of the diet for the short term show ill health effects. Its not something you want to put your body through. I will share the SHORT TERM evidence below. The long term evidence is also damning, but here is short term data.

            “Cognitive Effects of Ketogenic Weight-Reducing Diets,” researchers randomized people to either a ketogenic or a nonketogenic weight loss diet. Although both groups lost the same amount of weight, those on the ketogenic diet suffered a significant drop in cognitive performance.After one week in ketosis, higher order mental processing and mental flexibility significantly worsened into what the researcher called a “modest neuropsychological impairment.”

            A review over low carb diets revealed that “Complications such as heart arrhythmias, cardiac contractile function impairment, sudden death, osteoporosis, kidney damage, increased cancer risk, impairment of physical activity and lipid abnormalities can all be linked to long-term restriction of carbohydrates in the diet.”

            Low-Fat Versus Low-Carbohydrate Weight Reduction Diets
            Effects on Weight Loss, Insulin Resistance, and Cardiovascular Risk: A Randomized Control Trial

            This study looked at 24 people who were overweight/obese and divided them into 2 groups. One group was low carb, high fat and the other high carb, low fat.
            High carb group: 20% calories from fat/60% calories from carbs
            Low carb group: 60% calories from fat/20% calories from carbs
            In addition, the study was designed so that participants would lose 1 pound per week, so calories were reduced by 500 per day.

            Volunteers were given pre weighed foods given as daily portions and were assessed by a dietician to make sure that they were adhering to the diet. After 8 weeks, this is what was found to be significant between the two groups. The low carb, high fat group experienced arterial stiffness which basically means impaired arterial function. What this means is that the people on this diet experienced low grade inflammation which can lead to the growth of atherosclerotic lesions and can become heart disease. “It is possible that the high fat content of a low-carbohydrate diet exerts detrimental effects on endothelial function, which raises concern s regarding the long-term safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets…Currently, supported by evidence from long-term trials, we believe that a low-fat diet should remain the preferred diet for diabetes prevention.”

            Benefit of Low-Fat Over Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Endothelial Health in Obesity
            20 subjects participated in this study. “The [low carb] diet provided 20 g of carbohydrates daily, supplemented with protein and fat content according to the Atkins’ diet recommendation.19 The [low fat] diet provided 30% of the calories as fat, modeled after an American Heart Association diet.” I wouldn’t exactly call the low fat diet “low fat”, but regardless, its far less fat then the low carb diet. Both groups were given 750 calories less with pre made meals so they would stick with the protocol.
            After 6 weeks, there were significant differences between the low carb and the low fat group. The researchers performed a brachial artery test which basically tests to see if arterial function is impaired or not. Typically, the arm is cut off from circulation for about 5 min., then they release the arm, and measure how dilated the blood vessels are. If the blood vessels are constricted, it represents arterial impairment whereas dilation indicates good arterial health.

            On week 2 of the diet, both low carb and low fat groups had poor arterial health and were not significantly different, but by week 6, those on the low carb diet had far worse arterial health then before, and those eating low fat had far better.
            (See figure 1: )

            This again shows that this type of diet is promoting heart disease risk.

            Low carbohydrate, high fat diet increases C-reactive protein during weight loss.
            Unfortunately, I was unable to find the full text of this study so it is difficult for me to view the details and all I can do is base my conclusions of the study based on the abstract which is not something I like to do. Regardless, the study revealed a very interesting finding. It showed that when subjects of the study went on a low carb, high protein diet for 4 weeks, they had a 25% increase in C-reactive protein. C-reactive protein is a marker of inflammation which basically means that this group of people were promoting the development of a chronic disease. In contrast, the high carbohydrate subjects decreased their levels of C-reactive protein by 48%.

            Comparative Effects of Three Popular Diets on Lipids, Endothelial Function, and C-Reactive Protein during Weight Maintenance
            This study is quite interesting. It examined 18 adults aged 20 or over for 6 months. The aim of the study was to examine their health when on 3 diets, the Atkins diet (high fat, low carb), the South beach diet (Mediterranean) and the Ornish diet (low fat, high carb). They found no significant differences between the 3 diets in terms of calories consumed. The results are interesting as seen in table 1 of the study.
            They found higher LDL in the Atkins diet and lower LDL in the low fat Ornish diet. They also found significantly higher levels of C-reactive protein in the atkins diet as opposed to the Ornish diet. What was also found was that the atkins diet had poor results for the Brachial Artery test which again shows impaired arterial function. “High saturated fat intake may adversely impact lipids and endothelial function during weight maintenance. As such, popular diets such as Atkins may be less advantageous for CHD risk reduction when compared to the Ornish and South Beach diets”

          • Ben

            In terms of the arterial stiffness, separate studies showed that once the subject passed the 12 month mark and continued the diet, arterial stiffness REVERTED. Seems those studies did not experiment for a long enough duration. But who knows, maybe it worsens after 36 months. Just throwing it out there.

          • Thea

            Ben: I would say that this site does a good job of documenting the long term impacts on heart disease of high fat diets long term. So, I’m pretty skeptical of these other studies you are talking about.

          • There are zero benefits to self induced ketosis. You are swapping one disease (caused by bad eating habits) for another disease (caused by bad eating habits.) No informed person would willingly want to do that to themselves.

            Your breath stinks, your constipated, cramps, “Flu’s” and it makes you stupid. Being unable to make good lifestyle choices was what was was killing you.

          • Professor5180

            What you’ve just said was one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response did you ever some close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

          • Alax Neiswonger

            Agreed with you 100%!! My cousin has been trying to convince me for YEARS to eat coconut oil because of its’ “health” benefits, while she is also paleo, won’t even go there. I’m just a Dietitian, what do I know :)

    • ja827

      Doc, thanks for all the work you do and great information. Disagree with you on this topic though. If you can produce a study using Virgin Coconut Oil (not hydrogenated) showing worsening of people’s total cholesterol profile (the proportion of LDL to HDL is more important, vs the LDL only), I’ll listen to what you say. However, at this point, I’ve only seen positive effects in the literature of Virgin Coconut oil on people’s total cholesterol profile. And have been using it daily for a year to improve my own cholesterol profile, which was greatly improved on the last test 1 month ago. LDL decreased, not increased, 25 pts, and HDL increased 15 pts. Coconut oil is a nutritional and ‘medicinal’ powerhouse, IMO. It’s being used to keep in check the progression of HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer’s, to name just 2

      • Toxins

        Hello ja827!
        Such a great comment you have made, but let me clear up some issues you are having with the video.

        Firstly, when something is hydrogenated, that means it is made into a solid state for preservation purposes. The coconut oil used in the study was not hydrogenated.

        Secondly, all oil is essentially liquid fat with little to no nutrition. That goes for olive oil too! Check out Dr. G’s video on olive oil and see my comment on there regarding its lack of health value

        Many claims have been made about olive oil as well, but the fact of the matter is, all oils cause epithelial cell damage to your blood vessels which causes a marked increase in your risk for heart disease since the protective cell layer can no longer clear up blockages. Remember, cholesterol is only 1 aspect of true health. One must ingest foods that provide proper nutrition without causing harm.

        • DrCarp

          Just because something is not loaded with phytonutrients does not mean it is bad for you. I am not suggesting that you take tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil but fat metabolism is a many and varied thing and you can’t just automatically say it is bad for you without looking at the context. Secondly – the study mentioned above supplemented the coconut oil in the study with egg yolks, margarine, and white flour. It is a severely flawed study.

          • Steve

            Exactly; water has no phytonutrients, but we sure need it!

          • Toxins

            Studies supporting your position would be preferred.

      • cocofreak

        Im pretty sure that you cannot increase your HDL levels with food.. So giving credit to coconut oil affecting HDL and LDL levels is probably not very accurate. The fact is that coconut oil is a saturated fat and saturated fats increase LDL levels, regardless of where they come from. Its their chemical structure. But your HDL and LDL level changes are probably due to overall changes in diet and exercise habits..

        • Ruby

          I’m pretty sure you increase them no other way. And I eat the fresh meat and I HIGHLY suspect anything else is just no good, or much less good, though I put the oil on my skin daily and got rid of staph I had for 2 yrs, and I use it every day and I never got staph again. I have a LONG discourse above as well. Awesome to see so many defenders of the coco on this vid!!

        • Wesley Smith

          Similar to how there are good and bad carbohydrates, good and bad protein sources, there are good and bad saturated fats. Myrisitc (C14) and Palmitic acids (C16) negatively impact blood lipids . Stearic acid (C18) seems to have neutral effects on blood lipids, and Luaric acid, which is only 12 carbons long, seems to have favorable effects on blood lipids. A comprehensive meta-analysis on the effects of various saturated fats on blood lipids provided by researchers at Harvard can be read here:

          In fact, when replacing carbohydrate in the diet, Luaric acid, the most prevalent fatty acid in Coconut oil, promotes an increase in HDL-C and decrease in the non-APO-A particles (e.g. LDLs); therefore this suggests coconut oil would have favorable effects on blood lipids. This could be due to the shorter chain length, which may not stiffen the membranes of lipoproteins to the same extent as other saturated fats. The most probable mechanism by which saturated and trans-fat increases blood lipids, is that there is an increase in the rigidity of the lipoprotein cell membrane attenuating the receptor-binding (such as the the LDL hepatic receptor) and causing higher lipoprotein particles in the plasma. This is exacerbated by inflammation, which has been shown to reduce hepatic cholesterol uptake; and inflammation is fostered by a diet high in flesh-food, an increase visceral body fat largely attributed to alcohol, processed carbohydrate, and hyperinsulinemia.

    • Steve

      Coconut oil has nearly too many benefits to list! Yes, definitely go for it.

      • Ruby

        AGREED!! Please read my comment at top of page if you don’t mind. I’d love some positive feedback here.

  • Veguyan

    And what about the fact that coconut oil is composed of medium chain fatty acids as opposed to the badder kinds? And Lauric Acid? Monolaurin?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Coconut oil manufacturers, like those in the beef industry, love to point out the fatty acids in their products that may not be harmful while conveniently ignoring their products also contain kinds of saturated fat that can significantly raise one’s LDL or “bad” cholesterol, which is a risk factor for heart disease. It’s like when, during the McLibel trial, a McDonald’s executive was asked if Coca Cola is “nutritious” and he replied that it is “providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet.” Food is a package deal; we can’t get the good without the bad, and so I in my opinion we should ideally choose foods where the risk/benefit analysis is skewed way towards the benefits side.

      • The libel here is mostly coming from the soybean industry historically. Tell me how much butyric, stearic, or palmitic acid are in coconuts and how much do you have to eat to get comparable levels found in animal and dairy fats?

      • Jo Mormont

        Too bad saturated fats being bad for you is a complete lie. Perhaps if you consider cause and causality you’d realize that many people who consumed high amounts of saturated fats came from over-eating and were eating from horrible sources of highly processed foods.

        There have been studies for instance in an African tribe who had a high amount of saturated fat in their diet and they were extremely heart healthy people.

  • ChefJenny

    Oh Doc! Say it ain’t so! Not my precious coconut oil!! I saw the study flashed up at the end of the video, but can you tell me more about the effect on cholesterol? I’m almost scared to find out! Sigh…

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Coconut oil appears to raise one’s LDL (“bad”) cholesterol :( So as the Chair of Harvard’s nutrition department recently wrote, “I’d use coconut oil sparingly.”

    • Steve

      Consuming about 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil daily, I’ve raised my HDL cholesterol from an anemic 38 to an off the chart 73 in 1.5 years. Don’t worry so much about cholesterol; the healthiest people on the planet have an average cholesterol of 250. The Framingham study showed cardiovascular events (strokes and heart attacks) increased when cholesterol dropped below 160 and went over 260, but was lowest between those values. Studies also show that half the people with strokes and heart attacks had “normal” cholesterol and half did not. Another often overlooked factor is villainizing LDL cholesterol; it is there for a reason. But it does come in different particle sizes; the small particles are a problem as they can stick to arteries to form plaque, but the bigger particles are fine. Inflammation is the key here, not cholesterol. Avoid the processed sugars (as well as synthetic sugars — aspartame and the like are neurotoxic and carcinogenic) and the grains; eat lots of organic non-GMO veggies. And be sure to eat all the coconut oil you want!

      • christine

        I would like to see where your data comes from. I am thin and eat as “clean” as I can. Yet I continue to have a high cholesterol level. Thanks

        • Ruby

          Have you cleaned out your liver and gall and kidneys with a half dozen cleanses over a year? Mine was HIGH as well and then one year I did a agll cleanses and MAN!! So I did a couple more and then had my test and went from 250 to 160. I also discovered coconut oil in that time and while i did not eat it, I lathered my body in it daily (it’s an antibacterial and 30% sun screen).

          • george


            What are gall cleanses?

          • Alice Hilt

            I have a question for Dr. And Ruby. Are there cleanses safe to do for people that have heart disease and diabetes. I saw a warning on a cleansing product athhealth food store.

          • Alice Hilt

            Al so question for Dr. GREGER I have high cholesterol and diabetes type 2 and the medicine the doctor prescribed even those not statins I can not take. My last test my cholesterol count was 210. All my life my cholesterol count has been high. When I weighed 95 pounds my count was 180. I also have developed heart disease at age 69.

          • Alice Hilt

            What foods should I eat to bring cholesterol down?

          • Thea

            Alice: The NutritionFacts site has several videos on cholesterol and specific foods you can eat to help lower your cholesterol:

            The bottom line is to eat a whole plant food based diet. That means no meat, diary, eggs, or oils. But happily, there is still a WHOLE LOT of food that you can eat. I recommend taking a look at the following book, which includes some recipes at the back: Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.

            Good luck!

          • Alax Neiswonger

            I would not recommend doing any type of “cleanse.” That’s what our liver and kidneys are for. You can do more harm than good. I follow this fellow Dietitian alot as I work with outpatient oncology patients too. She’s to the point but makes reading it fun!

        • Alax Neiswonger

          My mom has always had high cholesterol. She want vegetarian and it went up! Then went vegan, whole-foods plant based with no added oils and it went down remarkably. She gets her fats from avocados, nuts, seeds, soy milk, but does not eat anything with oil listed in the ingredients list, even some dried cranberries. That worked for her but it is a lot of work. Good luck!

      • Alice Hilt

        Steve where does your data come from? Much interested . My cholesterol count was 180 when I weighed 95 pounds at age 35. Now it’s higher at 210. Can’t take any meds for lowering it ad I am intolerant to them. What kinda diet should I b on ?

        • Steve

          Alice, my data comes from a wide variety of sources. I listen to many hours of health radio shows, read lots of articles and study summaries, and speak with people in the health industry. Over the last five years I’ve probably spent at least 6,000 hours learning so many interesting aspects of achieving optimal health naturally. That’s roughly equivalent to the hours devoted to obtain a college degree (I have two of those in technical fields, a bachelors in electrical engineering and a masters in computer science). If you want info on coconut oil, see If you’d like to follow some of my favored sources, see a profile page I’ve set up at where I’ve posted a couple dozen links to info and products.

          My HDL climbed a bit higher to 75 as I continue to enjoy coconut oil daily. Some prominent forward-thinking doctors who don’t just parrot everything they learned from their pharmaceutical industry provided curriculum in school say that 220 is an ideal cholesterol level. Cholesterol is so important that every cell in the body is capable of producing it, but that’s an energy intensive process so most is produced in the liver and then distributed via the blood. Cholesterol is a building block for hormones, including vitamin D. Dr. Hannah Yoseph has a video lecture where she describes how statin drugs really lower cholesterol and kill you one cell at a time (more cholesterol receptors are formed so that cholesterol is soaked from the blood into the cells; the cells become gorged and rupture, with the debris plugging the kidneys sometimes leading to renal failure). I wouldn’t be worried about your level of 210, and would not focus so much on the numbers. The human body is a marvelous machine that is very adaptable and innately intelligent, performing trillions of calculations to adjust hormones, enzymes, and numerous other physiological factors every second. Thus, it seems a bit arrogant that we routinely drug ourselves with man-made medications to push various numbers up or down. Realize that while drugs certainly have their place in acute trauma scenarios, long term use always results in side effects because they work by inhibiting the body in some way, typically by blocking some enzyme. Optimal health is never achieved by blocking some aspect of your body’s normal functionality.

          I have a relative who has been on blood pressure meds since his late 20’s, and then upon retirement in his 60’s he developed heart problems where the electrical activity of the nerves had malfunctioned. It was life-threatening, with a very low percentage of heart functionality left. He barely survived all the drugs while in the hospital, but is doing quite well after adjusting his diet per a holistic doctor to include ample amounts of real butter, grass-fed beef, etc. So the lesson here is that some blood pressure medicines “work” by forcing the heart to slow down, effectively slowly killing the heart. Attacking symptoms overlooks root causes.

          You mentioned you have diabetes; nutritional historian Christopher Barr found a single government paper from around 1950 that identified a deficiency of glucose tolerance factor (GTF) chromium as a cause of diabetes. Amond the thousands of papers regarding the toxicity of other forms of chromium, this one paper reports that a lack of GTF chromium will cause diabetes, yet that info is buried away, perhaps because a lot of money from drugs is at stake. Insulin delivers glucose to the cells, but GTF chromium then loads the glucose into the cells where it can be used. Without the chromium, insulin insensitivity occurs. In other words, the insulin is ineffective without GTF chromium. Our modern diets are often severely mineral deficient, and contaminants like glyphosate (Round Up) act as chelators to strip out what little nutrition is left. So it’s wise to eat whole organic foods and avoid processed and genetically modified foods as much as possible. Christopher Barr has been interviewed a number of times on the Robert Scott Bell show; search the archives ( for “Barr” to learn so much more from him. He recommends the whole-food derived GTF chromium from Innate Response. But don’t look for a single “magic bullet” solution to any health challenge; start with the best diet you can get. When Dewayne McCulley (author of Death to Diabetes) woke from a coma in a hospital, he was told that his blood sugar was over 1,330 and that he had diabetes. Check out his YouTube videos where he explains how a diet of mostly greens quickly restored him to health. His doctor called him delusional for not following the prescribed diet of grains and could not even accept the lab results when the A1C level was absolutely perfect.

          Regarding heart health, listen to podcast #57 with cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra at where he describes the “holy trinity” of nutrients for the heart – ribose is the “fuel”, l-carnitine is the “transport”, and CoQ10 provides the “spark”. Then ensure these nutrients are adequately present in your diet, or consider supplementation.

          Rebounding is one of the most effective and gentle exercises, keeping the lymph flowing to aid in detoxification. Digestive enzymes are probably the single most important supplement one can take (also consume on an empty stomach for blood cleansing). Inclined Bed Therapy (IBT) is free and doesn’t require any special diet, exercise, or even daily time commitment, yet has helped people get out of their wheelchairs, improve vericose veins, back problems, heart issues, snoring, and many other concerns because it promotes better circulation while the body makes repairs during sleep. So see my profile page mentioned above where I’ve linked these sorts of information. I think you’ll find it as a helpful starting point to further your own research. You’ll always find contradictory recommendations even among the “experts”, so keep an open mind, gather info from many sources, and decide for yourself what makes sense for you. Listen to your body more than lab reports. And be willing to change positions and ideas as conditions change and updated information becomes available.

          • AikiDavid

            Steve: I have no idea where you’ve gotten some of your misinformation, but it is harmful to spread some of the false myths you are spreading here. I a Lifestyle Medicine Specialist and have studies diet and nutrition for about 50 years, and I’ve NEVER seen anyone stupid enough to say a total cholesterol of 220 is ideal. (Maybe that’s because I don’t read the trash put out by the Paleo deluded guys?) And your info that cholesterol below 160 is bad, was ONLY True in limited studies done on inpatients, who had a low cholesterol due to being gravely ill and not eating their normal amounts of food. In fact you misquoted information from the Framingham Heart Study. The physician who ran that study for the first 35 years (it’s still going on) was once asked what was a safe total cholesterol level. His response, pretty much the opposite of what you mis-stated. He said that about 2/3rds of heart attacks occur above 200 cholesterol, and about 1/3rd occur in people with total cholesterol below 200, but that in all the years (decades, really) that he ran the study, HE HAD NEVER SEEN A SINGLE HEART ATTACK IN ANYONE WITH A TOTAL CHOLESTEROL THAT WAS LESS THAN 150 ! !
            So, instead of trying to get people to try to keep their cholesterol up, you should be encouraging them to get BELOW 150, for absolute protection against heart attacks (MI’s). And, BTW, eating 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil a day is basically deciding to die 10 to 20 years younger than you need to. It is great stuff for your skin and hair, but it is just a process food product and like olive oil, is NOT good for you to take internally. Any of the oils should be taken in only minute quantities, and that’s only when necessary, such as enough to keep food from sticking to a cooking pan.

            There are studies that show “coconut oil is healthy for you,” but when you actually read them, the populations that were found to be healthy were EATING COCONUTS, NOT COCONUT OIL ! ! ! Please stop putting out dangerously wrong information.

          • Alax Neiswonger

            Agreed! So many people think they are nutrition experts. I’m a Registered/Licensed Dietitian for one of the largest hospital systems, it is so hard to read the stuff people post sometimes. Others just eat it up without doing their own research first. I would be a little skeptical if I were them…

      • AikiDavid

        An aside to everyone who Actually wants to be healthy, please don’t listen to this guy steve, he’s full of crap ! ! If you eat all the coconut oil you want you will surely die at a much younger age than you would otherwise ! ! ! He reminds me of the Paleo crowd, who say several things that are accurate, then suddenly flip out and say totally BS things about saturated fat being good for you despite thousands of studies showing otherwise.
        Forgetting about him for a while, let me mention a major study that completely disproves the Entire Basis of the Paleo Diet. Their major thesis is that saturated fat and meat are actually healthy for you and that the only reason so many Americans (and others) get heart disease from eating meat is because it is not grass fed, but fed corn, and that is has antibiotics injected into it, and that it has hormones given or injected to cause excessively swift growth. If cows were fed (according to this theory) a clean grass-in-the-field diet with no hormones or antibiotics (the crap that Dr. Mercola sells), then everything would be great. BUT, NO THAT’S A LIE, how do I know?

        Because they did a study of the entire country of millions of people in Norway not long after World War II. They studied the health records and found the country had a high heart attack and stroke rate before the war, then during the war, the Nazis came in and took all their chickens, pigs, cattle, eggs, and dairy to feed the German Army. During this 4 year period, the heart attack and stroke rates PLUMMETED ! ! Then after WW II was won and the Norwegians got back all their unhealthy meat products, their heart attack and stroke rates quickly SOARED back up to where they had been before the war ! !

        Why does this disprove the Paleo theory? Because before and after WW II, the cattle were not given corn to eat, nor antibiotics (those that existed were given to troops!), and hormones could not at this point even have been synthesized, so there was no way they were getting any of these things. While it may be true that these additions may have made meat even more deadly than it used to be, the facts remain, meat has always been proven to cause heart attacks and strokes and there’s no way around that.

      • michelle

        what would you say to a total cholesterol o f 448mG/dl or 11.6 mmol/L and HDL 90 gm(2.33}, LdL at 318 (285) Bad and trig 44 mg,(0.5) and perfect blood pressure , i have to find out what type of ldl cholesterol is Big fluffy ( is good ) or small ??

  • walfaro

    Dr. Greger:
    Thank you for this wonderful site. I have been reading about coconut oil lately and I would like to know your opinion about this article: Coconut oil is associated with a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines
    [PDF] de Feranil, PL Duazo, CW Kuzawa… – Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2011 –

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      The article confirms what we’ve known about the HDL (“good”) cholesterol elevating effects of certain saturated fatty acids. Though coconut oil is 90% saturated fat (compared to around 50% in beef, butter, and lard), a larger percentage is what’s called lauric acid, which boosts HDL more than palmitic acid, the saturated fat found predominantly in meat and dairy products. So as saturated fats go, coconut oil is preferable, but the recommendation remains “to avoid tropical oils, including coconut oil” according to a statement put out by the American Dietetic Association earlier this year.

      • walfaro

        Thank you Dr. Greger for your explanation. Regards.

      • Steve

        Thanks for the tip — if the American Dietetic Association says to avoid coconut oil, then I know I’m on the right track to consume as much of it as possible!

        • Toxins

          I am not sure where you get your science from, but the ADA is a perfectly credible health organization and bases its recommendations on research, not quack doctors who sell gallons of coconut oil or random articles you may read on the internet.

        • Ruby

          Steve I’m on board with you dude.

        • AikiDavid

          Excellent ignorant response here Stever, right in line with the misinformation you’ve been giving above, wherein you are trying to kill off your fellow readers by lying to them about cholesterol of 220 being “ideal,” when the head of the entire Framingham Heart Study personally stated that in his 35 years of running the study, the only truly safe total cholesterol level was BELOW 150, and that in all those years he never saw even a single heart attack in the group with the cholesterol that low ! ! !

      • alot

        Interesting you quote the American Dietetic Association, Dr Greger. I am currently reading your book, How Not To Die where in chapter 1 you stated that the American Dietetic Association accepts millions from the processed junk food, meat, dairy, soda and candy companies in exchange for telling dietitians what to tell their clients. How can we tell that this recommendation from them is credible?

  • laura lee

    Hi Dr. Greger. So what oil is healthy to use? Isn’t vegetable oil as harmful?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Other oils are healthier (less saturated), but I recommend eating whole (unprocessed) foods whenever possible and so encourage people to avoid oils in part for the same reason I encourage people to avoid avoid white bread and added sugars–the nutrient to calorie density of these foods (something Dr. Fuhrman famously talks about in his work) is exceedingly low.

      • dale

        Wisdom, the constructive use of knowledge,
        Where oils are out. I understand that the brain needs a certain amount of fat in the diet. Do you suggest avocados, nuts, seeds and nut and seed butters?

        • Alax Neiswonger

          That is exactly where we should get our sources of fat from. Like Dr. Greger said, olive oil and most others are processed. Getting it from whole-plant based foods is optimal.

  • modstream

    I have a child that is PDD-NOS (autistic) but doing very well and improving greatly with nutrition and homeopathy. He is skinny though. What oil do you recommend? I typically use olive and coconut oil and was happy about the fat content of the coconut oil for him.

    Also – any nutrition or health information pertaining to autism on the site would be wonderful.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Autism is definitely one of my pubmed alerts. In terms of calorically dense plant foods I would recommend nuts, seeds, and nut and seed butters rather than oils, as well as dried fruit and smoothies. I am so glad he is improving!

      • modstream

        But to cook with – for ex., cooking vegetables or cooking meat … what oil do you recommend? Or can you use seed butters for this? I don’t know of any. I also use sesame seed oil on occasion (it just has a strong flavor). Thank you!

        • Toxins

          Hello modstream!
          Although this question was directed for Dr. Greger, I believe I can provide you with some alternatives.

          Firstly, you really shouldn’t be eating meat to begin with after looking at the massive amount of information on its health detriments. Check them out here

          As far as cooking your vegetables in a pan, water works just as well as oil! I have noticed an insignificant taste difference so using water is your best bet. Also, making hearty plant based soups is an excellent way to bring a lot of foods together in one cooked meal. For more simple recipes check out

          For more information on oil check out these 2 videos by good ol’ Dr. G! and

        • LowFatVeganChef

          Hi Modstream,

          I cook without any oil or cooking spray for all of my recipes. Now that we have non stick pans it is completely unnecessary to use oil to prevent sticking. This was more for those d cast iron pans.

          I made a post on my blog about how I cook without oil if you want to check it out

          I make vegetable broth, or you can use store bought, or just water and seasonings in a pinch.

          • Steve

            I quit using non-stick pans after I realized the very toxic chemicals from DuPont that are used to make them. They always start flaking off, so you know you are ingesting them. I go with cast iron and use loads of coconut oil. Probably the best cooking pan would be a ceramic type.

          • AikiDavid

            Steve, although some older non-stick cooking pans that have been abused may flake off, that is NOT a health risk. But even though you are wrong about why they are unhealthy, you are correct that they are unhealthy. If teflon flakes off and you swallow it, not big deal, it is not in any way absorbed in the body and you’ll just poop it out a day or so later, no big deal. However, what is unhealthy about these pans is when they are heated to a high heat, they give off VOC’s, volatile organic chemicals;, which are toxic, and standing over them cooking, you’ll be breathing in toxic fumes.
            Now, what I just said applies to the older non-stick pans. I have heard that a newer generation is made out of some ceramic like material on the surface, and may be no risk at all. I am not sure about that or which brands that would include, as we just use stainless steel and don’t need to replace it.
            Next, iron pans are fine to use, but you should use water instead of oil as someone else suggested, and if you have to use any oils at all, do NOT use coconut oil, and especially not in large quantities, just barely skim the surface with enough to make it not stick. ANY oil is just processed food with no nutrients and decreases any healthy value you are getting from your meal.
            Even the “Famously healthy” olive oil has an unfavorable ration of Omega-6 to Omega-3 ration that is pro-inflammatory and not desirable in your body.

          • LA Rose

            For non-meat eaters, it’s very useful to use a cast iron pan to get some of that essential mineral into their diets. Heating the pan before putting in any food or liquid helps give it a less sticky surface. Also, use ceramic instead of Teflon or other chemical non-stick pans which degrade and shed those chemical coatings into your, long before you can see the flaking. Some healthy oils (avocado, olive, etc.) should be in all our diets — but it’s better to add it once cooking is done than to heat it. Our joints need these oils,

          • Ruby

            I disagree entirely. Iron pans do not provide ionic minerals the body needs and gets from plants. There is a reason it is HIGHLY recommended that iron pans be and stay WELL SEASONED (to keep the metal from the body).

          • AikiDavid

            If you are vegan, and eat a lot of greens, esp. leafy greens, you don’t need iron supplemented by your pan, your veggies will cover that mineral for you.

        • Kathryn Bulver

          You can sauté in broth, wine, any juices, water…. And high-water content veggies (like onions, celery, mushrooms) give off a lot of moisture on their own, so they don’t need very much else to saute, especially if you use a (ceramic-based) non-stick pan.

      • michali

        Dr. Greger,

        I have read articles (not studies) that coconut oil is very helpful for people with Alzheimer’s disease.  These articles claim that coconut oil helps make ketones in the brain which improves memory and cognitive skills.  What is your take on this.

        • Toxins

          Only 1 poorly concluded study with very mixed results on Alzheimers:

          Placebo and coconut fat takers scored no different on a cognitive impairment test when the subjects were randomized. If they weren’t randomized (which could represent stacking up the placebo group with very sick patients) then the coconut fat consumers scored slightly better after 45 days. After 90 days though everyone pretty much evened out. This is not something I would use as evidence either, yet it is.

          • Steve

            Dr. Mary Newport’s husband was too far gone with AD to be accepted in a new drug trial, but Mary noted that the drug was based on MCTs. Coconut oil is a rich source of MCTs, so she gave him that and he responded remarkably almost immediately. My brother in law has become verbal and conversational after getting on coconut oil. Yes, something wrong with the study; coconut oil works.

        • Ruby

          I believe that wholly. I have a new comment at the top f the page. I’d love feedback if you have any.

          • AikiDavid

            Studies and personal reports showing improvements in Alzheimer’s may be prejudiced by two major things: 1) viewer’s bias (wishful thinking), and 2) not taking other factors into account. For one: It will be impossible to tell a child that they are wrong and their parent has not improved when they saw some very slight improvement and have convinced themselves that it is making an enormous difference. and as to 2: Other factors include things like poor appetite and near starvation. They might have actual improvement not because coconut oil is particularly good for them, but because they were lacking in calories and the extra calorie boost helped “tune them up,” or another factor could be the taste. Many with Alzheimer’s lose their appetite and won’t eat, so if they prefer the flavor of coconuts over peanut or almond butter, then maybe they will get some much needed fat into their systems if they eat the coconut oil while they are refusing the nut butters. (Or maybe no relative thought to try giving them a nut butter?)

    • Ruby

      Please let me share this TED speach link where a mother and biochemist healer her daughter of autism almost immediately.

      • molecular bio

        Ruby!!! Thank you for sharing this fantastic TED video!!

  • raerae

    Dr. Greger,

    I have been doing some research on this debate and have come to the question if the studies cited were testing hydrogenated coconut oil versus virgin coconut oil. Do you know which type was tested, as hydrogenated oil have higher bad saturated fats and have found much info stating that pure extra virgin oil is healthier option as it has no trans & hydrogenated fat and 62% mct’s

    • Ruby

      Coconut oil is never hydrogenated, only oils that are liquid are, to make them solidify, like margirine. Coconut oil is naturaly saturated, which means solid.

  • Daneau

    I have read in a few places that vegans can suffer from poor hormone production if their saturated fat (coconut oil) consumption is too low. Is this true?

    • Toxins

      Hello Daneau,
      As stated by Jeff Novick, we actually do not need any saturated fat to survive, they are nonessential and harmful. Much of the “studies” coming out claiming carbs are bad and saturated fat is good are actually funded by food industry bodies, like the dairy industry This is not a reliable source and beef and dairy in themselves contain trans fats, Check out Dr. G’s videos all about those pesky trans fats here
      Back to Saturated fats, Dr. McDougall states that the study claiming saturated fats were not harmful was debunked by Dr. Jeremiah Stamler, “this dairy-industry funded study based on its flawed methodology, and a disregard of 50 years of diet-heart research with contrary findings, and dozens of metabolic (ward-type-feeding) experiments showing that eating saturated fat and/or cholesterol causes an adverse effect on blood lipids. In addition, thousands of relevant animal studies on the damaging effects of saturated fat and cholesterol were ignored.” Check out the whole McDougall article here going into detail as well as the editorial by Dr. Stamler that debunks the Saturated fat claim here

      To check out more information on other oils, check out Dr. Greger’s video on Olive Oil here as well as my comments to the users on that page.

      • DrCarp

        There are many different saturated fatty acids. They behave differently in the body. You can find information in articles about how the different saturated fatty acids (SFA’s) react in the body. The whole debate is hopelessly generalized and politicized. Start studying fat metabolism and you will realize that lumping all SFA’s together is just as bad as lumping all carbs together.

        • Steve

          Amen and Halleluja!

      • Ruby

        Daneu is asking about coconut oil, not mentioning saturated animal fat. You seem to be a spinner of info here and maybe as dangerous as your name implies.

  • yummy

    A well-known cardiologist posted today that coconut oil is fantastic for the heart and whole body…my personal doctor says “no” to using it….no wonder people are confused…sure wish Docs could come together a little more on this subject.

    • Steve

      Dr. Bruce Fife has written over half a dozen books on the many wonderful health benefits of coconut oil. I eat it everyday, probably 2-3 tablespoons (put it in my smoothies, cereal, cooking, salads). I buy it in the 5-gallon bucket from Tropical Traditions. My HDL cholesterol went from an anemic 38 to an off the charts 73!

      • Tali

        yeah but how much did your LDL go? did it increase significantly as well?

        • omnimatty

          That would be good to know, and how is it doing now 3 years later?

  • Chelsea

    raerae: The coconut oil used in this study was not hydrogenated. The hydrogenation process is what makes liquid fats (oils) into shelf-stable fats that are solid at room temperature. Many oils are hydrogenated and this will always increase the trans fat content. However, some coconut oil is already somewhat solid at room temperature due to the saturated fat content. Any oil that has been hydrogenated should be avoided! This information is easily found in the ingredients list.

    Coconut oil can sometimes be referred to as “virgin”, though it doesn’t actually have significance in the product. Olive oil, however, does use the term to indicate the amount of times the olives have been pressed. “Extra-virgin” simply means the first press of the olives, as opposed to the second or third press.

    Healthy fats can be added to the diet in many ways other than oil. Watch this video for more information:

  • So what’s the least “bad” oil that one can use for frying etc?

    • Toxins

      Hello David,

      There is actually not a single healthy method to frying. Check out Dr. Greger’s video on frying here

      • So what does one use when they are frying peppers, onions, etc. Is there a healthy option for pan frying?

        • Toxins

          Hello again,
          Such excellent questions you are asking!
          I have used plain old water to pan “fry” food and it turns out great! Just add some seasoning and its good to go!

        • LowFatVeganChef

          I use vegetable broth, homemade or store bought or even just water and spices to sauté in. Everything I make on my blog is oil free

        • Kathryn Bulver

          You can sauté them in broth, mirin (a Japanese cooking wine), wine, beer, cooking sherry (gives a nice mouthfeel similar to fat), any liquid. And if you use a (ceramic-based) non-stick pan, you don’t need much liquid, especially for high-water-content veggies like onions, which can be sauté in a dry pan. Just making that one change will save 120 calories per tablespoon of oil usually called for. If you want oil for a bit of flavor, using a small amount of a really good olive oil (like Bariani) that has a strong olive flavor, mixed with the broth or other liquid, is enough.

    • Steve

      Coconut oil is excellent for sauteing veggies, cooking eggs, etc. due to the high smoke point. When an oil burns, that means it has oxidized and produces damaging free radicals. Some oils like avocado oil have an even high smoke point, but that is not so common to find, so for practical purposes coconut oil should be the only thing you cook with. Never use vegetable oil for anything. Use olive oil as a dressing but don’t cook with it due to the low smoke point. And never buy any product with canola oil — it is highly genetically modified, is the main ingredient in some bug killer products, and is not even allowed for human consumption in Canada where we get most of it from.

      • Tali

        Steve, I am interested to know your changes in LDL while consuming the coconut oil, not only the HDL. thanks

      • Lel

        I live in Canada and canola oil is readily available. Buy organic .

  • So what is the consensus on the coconut water, I love it! I never went for soda, but I could drink canned coconut water all day. It makes me feel so good. Since it is so similar to plasma, is that a green light?

    • LowFatVeganChef

      Be careful with coconut water, it is just like juice and loaded with calories. When you say you can drink it all day, it’s because it contains a lot of sugar and our palettes like sugar. Use it as a juice, only drink it once a day or less. If you drank it all day every day, and we’re not a full time athlete, you would be taking in way more calories than you need and gaining weight.

      Canned coconut water is the new soft drink, it is not a cure all, but a refreshing treat. Fresh coconut water is much better for you if you live in the tropics or can get it in China Town or Asian restaurants.

  • DrDons

    Hi Gala Christen, Coconut water should be fine in moderation. It does have a high potassium content so patients with kidney disease and on certain medications should check with their doctors before using.

  • Dr. Mercola was on Dr. Oz again praising virgin coconut oil and “safe” tanning beds for vitamin D. Oy vey!

    • Toxins

      I find it interesting that people tout liquid fat (coconut oil is 91% saturated fat) as being healthful. Oil is essentially fat without any vitamins minerals or antioxidants. Id like to see the evidence supporting coconut oil.

      • Steve

        For one, look up Dr. Mary Newport’s success in treating her husband’s Alzheimer’s Disease with coconut oil. Similar success stories abound on the internet and I’ve seen it in a relative.

        Fat is essential for health. I refuse to buy low-fat and no-fat products. But I also don’t buy nasty stuff with hydrogenated or canola oils either.

        • Kathryn Bulver

          Fat is indeed essential for health, but oil isn’t. There are plenty olf whole-food sources of fat available.

  • I came up against a Dr-Oz-recommends-coconut-oil-so-it-must-be-true discussion today. I was about to refer the other conversants to the study you cite, but then I read the abstract.

    True, it says that the effect of coconut oil on HDL and total cholesterol is comparable to butter, but that it lowers LDL like safflower oil.

    “CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared with diets rich in butter and might be associated with lower production rates of apoB-containing lipoproteins.”

    The study, therefore, is not as clearcut as it would seem from your video, Michael, and doesn’t help our position in the discussion.

    Any thoughts?

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      I can see how you’d be confused just reading the abstract! LDL levels weren’t lowered by coconut oil; they just weren’t raised as high as butter (but how much is that saying?)

      • DrCarp

        This article you choose is hopelessly flawed. Do you know that the coconut oil group had their diets supplemented with egg yolks and margarine as well as white flour and they were encouraged to eat meat and cheese as part of their diets? Not all saturated fats are created equal and this has actually been studied. On the other hands, populations of Pacific Islanders have been studied who have 60-70% of their diets from the fat of coconuts with minimal heart disease. (Dr. Ian Prior) MCT’s have been extensively studied and the metabolism of them as well, that is why you can find them in supplements, in hospitals, and infant formulas. They are converted and used as energy when eaten. You don’t betray the saturated fat thesis by accepting the possibility that coconut oil has no effect on heart disease, you just have to understand fat metabolism in the body and the differing effects of caproic, caprylic, lauric, palmitic, and stearic acid. They don’t react in the body the same way!! Its like saying that all carbs are equal when we clearly know that white flour is deadly and unprocessed millet is probably ok. Lumping all saturated fats together is done too carelessly.

        • Toxins

          You cannot really be on the side that coconut oil is healthy. Coconut oil is 91% saturated fat. 23% of that type beiong the most harmful type. We have absolutely no dietary need for saturated fat. Coconut oil contains no omega 3 fats at all, which has no help keeping the omega6:omega3 4:1 ratio balancd when we need to keep this ratio 4:1 or under. Oil is not a food, it is the most calorie dense edible substance on the planet and is 100% fat. Where is the fiber, vitamins, or minerals? What about the antioxidants or phytonutrients? They are missing. You cannot reasonably argue the use of almost pure saturated fats in the diet as being healthful, this is an inherintly flawed argument.

          Here is the reputable and renowned Jeff Novick giving his position on coconut oil.

          • I am aware of Jeff Novicks article already – nutrient density only goes so far. Assuming you get enough Novick defined nutrients per day who is to say that certain fats are bad for you. Is it really only the micronutrients in nuts that make them good for you and worthwhile? The same thing goes here, if you are eating cocunut butter, you are getting those as well but my point goes further than that. Certain aspects of fat metabolism have effects that go beyond a simple calculation of nutrient density. It has effects on metabolic rate, modified insulin responses, nutrient absorption, fat soluble vitamins, and the list can go further. Yes, I agree that nutrient density should be looked at but it can only be carried so far especially when you understand fat metabolisms effects on the body. As much as Novick and others discuss ideal fat percentages as total calories, the data just does not bear out especially if you take out poisons like white flour and oxidized fat. Traditional cultures who eat lots of coconut butter / flesh and oil assuming they don’t eat white flour and oxidized vegetable oils do just fine and don’t have heart disease. As far as N6:3 ratios, that is another topic altogether and plays no bearing on this topic. We are not dealing with EFA’s here, that subject is separate, we are dealing with how different SFA’s behave differently in the body. Cheers :)

          • 23r32


          • faze

            I’m not a doctor or a nutritionist, and this isn’t medical advice. That said, shouldn’t we consider how certain populations, especially island populations (e.g. Pacific Islanders), might have *adapted* to coconut products. Another way to say this would be to suggest that all the Pacific Islanders who were going to die off from eating too many coconut products, did so, many generations ago – leaving those who are better adapted to coconut products to use them without harm.

            Another thing: think about the community networking and physical labor lifestyle of Pacific Islanders up until very recently; it was a very rigorous, hard life.

            Look at Sardinian’s and Okinawan’s; they’re very healthy, on balance, and do consume hings like white flour,cheese,meat, etc. – just not in prodigious quantities (but more than most who take doctor Greger’s advice seriously).

            Just a thought.

          • I might add that I think you will be perfectly healthy if you follow Jeff Novick’s advice, I have great respec for him.

  • Ethan

    What about the significance of medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil?

    • DrCarp

      They are used as the body as an energy source and should not be considered as SFA’s that raise the risk of any disease.

    • Toxins

      Coconut oil manufacturers constantly point a finger to the medium chain saturated fatty acids being used for energy expenditure and therefore not being disposed of as fat in adipose tissue. Coconut oil does indeed contain medium chain fatty acids and this may be metabolized differently but there are very few studies to make the conclusion that coconut oil is “ok” or that medium chain saturated fats are negligible. A tablespoon of coconut oil has about 12 grams of total saturated fat. about 8 grams of this is medium chain saturated fat and about 3.7 grams of this is long chain saturated fat. We have an abundance of evidence concluding that long chain saturated fats are harmful so we cannot consider this oil a healthy option based on that alone.

      As far as minerals and vitamins go, there is not one significant vitamin or mineral in coconut oil. The only vitamin present in a tablespoon of coconut oil is .1 micrograms of vitamin k which does not even register as a percentage of daily value. Its also absent of any omega 3 fats. Just looking at coconut oils nutritional profile we see that it is clearly a junk food. Junk food is by definition empty calories.

  • Chrysanthemum

    Coconut oil was very soothing on a bad sunburn I had two years ago, but it kind of grossed me out to consider eating it. Thanks for the info!

  • I heard coconut oil cures diabetes. any truth to this? any study to back this up? or is this snake coconut oil which cures diabetes? I am skeptical

    • Toxins

       Coconut oil is an extremely high saturated fat product, going for 12 grams per tablespoon. This can in no way be viewed as healthful since high saturated fat intake is viewed as a major problem in the current American diet. You can easy reverse type 2 diabetes with a whole foods plant based, low fat diet. I know of no evidence that say coconut oil can cure diabetes nor do I believe one exists.

  • Jackie

    I’m so glad that I found your wonderful site – Thanks to Forks over Knives email. this information about forms of coconut is helpful. How do I lower my LDL ? I am a vegan, so am on a plant-based diet, but I do eat a little dark chocolate. Could that be the cause? If not, what else is? We attempt to avoid oils and use water for cooking.

    • Toxins

      Try to keep your total saturated fat intake below 5 grams per day, also be sure to get plenty of exercise and consume lots of beans, greens, fruits and other vegetables.  It is best to avoid all oils for an optimally healthful diet.

      • 5 grams a day is unrealistic unless you’re a vegan that lives on a farm and never eats anything that comes out of a box. If the average person can keep below 20 grams of saturated fat per day they’re going pretty good.

        • Toxins

          5 grams a day is completely realistic if your eating whole unrefined plant foods. Eating processed high fat foods out of a box is not what is advocated by Dr. Greger.

          • You’re putting together an either or straw man debate. There are many vegetarians and vegans who eat veggie burgers and the like who are getting lots of fat and salt from their vegan healthy foods. If you’re going to eat unrefined plant foods you pretty much have to live on a farm as I stated.

          • Toxins

            I am not performing any argumentative tactics. Vegetarian and vegan does not equate to health. One can eat potato chips, white bread and peanut butter all day and still be considered vegan/vegetarian. I know of no commercially sold veggie burger that fits the standards advocated here. The primary message from Dr. Greger, and many health advocates of this type of diet is to consume a vegan diet comprising of whole, unrefined plant foods. One does not need to live on a farm to achieve this.

        • Occams_Razor

          Counting fat grams and eating box cereal and canned soups among other things, not eating vegan except when the food I chose was so, I used to keep my total fat (not saturated – total) under about 22 grams a day. I don’t count fat grams now, and eat lowfat vegan. This diet is not so lowfat when I eat nuts and avocados. People on a stricter diet can avoid those, of course; I just don’t. It would be pretty easy to do if I felt the the need to cut down.

  • Narrativeart

    Is it okay to drink Coconut-water?  I had high blood pressure, after removing all sodium from my diet I managed to get off of my B.P medications(I also went Vegan and lost a lot of weight).
     On a hot summer day I really crave a nice cool can of pure Coconut-water (No other Ingredients)although it says that it contains about 70mg of Sodium in 8OZ and there are 2 servings in a can. I am not sure if that is o.k? Since the Sodium is naturally occurring in the Coconut-water? I guess then my question is: Is it okay to consume foods that are naturally high in Sodium with a history of high blood pressure, and high Cholesterol?
    And then I also like to use Coconut meal as a substitute to flour since I am Gluten free due to Celiac?

    • Toxins

       Coconut water is just fine. We should strive to keep our sodium intake 1200-1500 mg or less. People at high risk for heart disease should strive for 500 mg or less.

      • Narrativeart

         I have been following Dr.Fuhrman’s Protocol, and he recommends about 600 mg of salt a week. I was never able to get off my Blood Pressure medicine until I completely removed table salt from my diet. My question is what about such a high salt level that occurs naturally in Coconut Water? Also my Cholesterol is very high so I need to be careful not to consume foods that might raise my Cholesterol, so can I have Coconut milk that is only 50 Calories, and Coconut flour since I am gluten free and I like to substitute that for flour?

        • Toxins

          The science currently shows that for a healthy adult without a medical condition, one can safely consume 1500-1200 mg of sodium a day and if one is at high risk for heart disease/hypertension then 500 mg is the maximum amount one should have per day. I do not follow Dr. Fuhrman’s plan, but I do use current nutritional science to guide my diet. Therefore my answer to you will not be based on his plan. I do not think that 140 mg of sodium is at all significant if one keeps sodium in other foods for the day low as well. Keep in mind, other foods have naturally occurring sodium in them as well.

          If your trying to avoid cholesterol raising foods, I would advise strongly against coconut milk or other coconut based products (except coconut water) as these foods are extremely high in saturated fat and can raise cholesterol levels.

          • Narrativeart

             Okay thank you so much for your advise.

          • Toxins

            You’re welcome. If other questions arise feel free to post them on this website and Dr. Greger, myself or other volunteers will address them.

    • Steve

      Salt is essential for life! All those minerals act as electrolytes that allow cellular communication. Common table salt, however, is not healthful because it has been stripped of all those other trace minerals and it is processed with aluminum to make it flow. Even some sea salt products are over processed — those are the white ones; avoid them. Get a good pink Himalayan salt (Dr. Bob Marshall’s Quantum Nutrition Labs has a good one: and you can catch his shows at live or hear the archives). Celtic salt is another great choice; this book by Sam Biser details amazing health benefits and medical uses of Celtic salt, including LOWERING blood pressure:

      • Toxins

        Salt is salt. Regardless of how it is processed or where its from. Do not perpetuate the diet fad craze.

        Many people assume because they are eating sea salt, they are eating healthier. In actuality, sodium chloride has the same effect on our body whether it be from the sea or from the land. We should strive to keep our sodium intake between 1200-1500 milligrams a day or less and we can get by without any added salt as salt occurs naturally in food. The estimated minimum required amount to maintain good health is said to be about 115 mgs per day by the National Academy of Sciences. Sea salt proponents claim that sea salt contains minerals in it. Lets look at the actual mineral content.

        1 tsp of Celtic Sea Salt contains

        12 mgs of calcium
        7 mgs of potassium
        27 mgs of magnesium

        The recommended daily values of these nutrients are

        600 mgs of calcium
        4700 mgs of potassium
        400 mgs of magnesium

        So to get just 25% of this daily value, we would need to eat

        Calcium, we would need to take in 24,600 mgs of sodium
        Potassium, we would need to take in 335,000 mgs of sodium
        Magnesium, we would need to take in 7,407 mgs of sodium

        Consuming sodium in these amounts is extremely unhealthy and most likely toxic.

  • cvtmd

    I agree with Dr Carp that this one study is severely flawed and it is always difficult to use one study to make these determinations BUT doesn’t this study conclude by saying that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared to diets rich in butter!

  • wickedchicken

    Hold up. I went to the study on pubmed, and I am not sure where you got your conclusion of “as harmful as butter”. LDL and ApoB were lower on coconut diet compared with butter. Am I blind and misreading the study result and conclusion?? Don’t think so. Can you explain your interpretation?
    RESULTS:Plasma lathosterol concentration (P < 0.001), the ratio plasma lathosterol/cholesterol (P=0.04), low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (P<0.001) and apoB (P<0.001) levels were significantly different among the diets and were significantly lower during coconut and safflower oil diets compared with butter diets. Plasma total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and apoA-levels were also significantly (P< or =0.001) different among the diets and were not significantly different between buffer and coconut diets.
    These data suggest that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared with diets rich inbutter and might be associated with lower production rates of apoB-containing lipoproteins.

    • Thea

       wickedchicken:  I don’t understand this stuff enough to understand your post.  However, I wondered if this earlier reply from Dr. Greger addresses your question:
      “LDL levels weren’t lowered by coconut oil; they just weren’t raised as high as butter (but how much is that saying?)”

      Does this address you point?

      • David

        Thea, no it does not since the video claimed that it is as harmful as butter, without giving any scientific evidence research claim

        • Dr. Greger below says “Do you see the superscript a’s next to both butter and coconut oil in table 3? I put screenshots in the Supplementary Info above for people who don’t have access to the study. For those unfamiliar with reading scientific annotation, that means (as described at the bottom of the table) that there was no significant difference between the rise in cholesterol in the people eating butter and the rise in cholesterol in people eating coconut oil.”

          • BrainDr

            Dr Greger is misreading Table 3. It clearly shows a significant decrease in LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and no significant change in HDL (“good cholesterol”). His conclusion that coconut oil is “as harmful as butter” is contradicted by the very reference he provides in support of it. The supplementary info should be expanded to provide the entire table; reporting only total cholesterol is entirely misleading as it’s been long established that low levels of HDL are correlated with an increase in heart attacks.

          • How is going from up from a baseline of 3.5 (men) or 3.6 (women) up to 3.8 on coconut oil a “decrease”?

          • BrainDr

            Your assertion was that coconut oil is “as harmful as butter”. However, when we look at table 3 we find LDL values of 4.08 for the butter group and 3.79 for the coconut oil group, a difference that is significant at the p=0.0001 level.

        • Steve

          Organic butter is actually good for you!

          • While I agree with you Steve, margarine was colored yellow after being forced to by the dairy board that didn’t like it cutting into their sales. The color has no effect on whether or not it’s bad for you.

          • Toxins

            I wonder how you are coming to the conclusion that something that is basically 100% fat, 65% of that being saturated animal fat (7.2 grams per tablespoon), that lacks every vitamin and mineral your body needs and contains only cholesterol is, somehow, healthy. This is by definition junk food, and it is far worse then simply empty calories.

          • We eat to replenish energy and for nutrients necessary for repair. Coconut oil gives us energy and makes it possible to eat much less carbohydrates. That is why I effortlessly lost 13 pounds when I started using it to replace butter. Other foods can give us all of the vitamins and minerals we need but most health problems today are from eating too many carbs.

          • Toxins

            Replacing fat for fat is not exactly something that should be viewed as healthful, and I would doubt that replacing butter for coconut oil alone was the only variable in your weight loss unless you were consuming sticks of butter everyday. Personal anecdotes are not evidence.
            I know of no reliable evidence implicating “carbohydrates” as unhealthy, nor do I believe any exists. Simple carbohydrates and proccessed carbohydrates are indeed unhealthy. The leap in logic to assume all carbohydrates are unhealthy from whole grains, to sweet potatoes, to beans is simply untrue and dishonest.

          • Our obesity epidemic started with the USDA’s food pyramid, which encouraged replacing fat with carbs. The energy from MCT fats made it easy for me to reduce my carb intake without effort.

          • Its the amount of carbs that is the problem. The food pyramid resulted in an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome. It’s a giant experiment using the entire population and the results are a disaster. Low fat foods leave people hungry for more carbs. They are a mistake and so are the liquid fats that were touted as healthy replacements. The problem is that the people involved in this disaster can’t admit their massive mistake and remain in denial.

          • Toxins

            There is no evidence to conclude that complex carbohydrates from whole plant foods are the cause of degenerative disease, the opposite is true. These foods help alleviate and prevent these diseases.



            Please provide some evidence for your claims. It is not up to me to disprove your outlandish claims but for you to prove them with scientific evidence.

          • Lawler

            Partially true. The better way to put it is most health problems arise from eating too many dead calories. Your body needs a balance of vitamins and minerals an order to function properly. Eating too much processed and over cooked foods gives insufficient vitamins and minerals to properly assimulate the amino acids, carbs and fats through the body. So to be more approriate most health problems are caused by over consumption of food and defficiency in vitamins and minerals. Also the biggest cause of health problems are diets consisting of high amounts of sulfur and phosphurus. Which can come from eating too much meat, animal by products and beverages such as soda. These two minerals make the body too acidic and forces the body to leech minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium esc from bone and other parts of the body to buffer the bloods PH. Over time your body runs out of alkaline mineral stores and disease sets in. As far as I know coconut oil is fine as along as by the end of the day you havent consumed more then 30g of saturated fats. To be really healthy make sure to consume no more then 1/3rd of your fatty acids as saturated fats. You should aim for 1/3rd monounsaturated, 1/3rd polyunsaturated, 1/3rd saturated fats. I personally stay away from transfat as much as possible as it is a proccessed form of fat and is really useless in the body. Its just as hard in the body if not harder then saturated fats and can cause problems. And ensure you consume omega 3 sources of fat which are found in fat sources such as flaxseed which is also a polysatured fat. Overal you should consume 1/4th – 1/3rd of your overal calories in fats using the above balance of there sources. Stay away from fatty meats! And try and consume more plant based fats as they are the essentials.

  • Ak42

    I was reading and researching that coconut oil was great for memory and other issues. I am vegan and this wrong?


    • Steve

      Yes, coconut oil is extremely good for memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. The brain can no longer use glucose as fuel, but the coconut oil allows the body to produce ketones as an alternate brain fuel. Look up Dr. Mary Newport who restored her husband probably about 80% from severe Alzheimer’s. My brother in law is also doing quite well on it; better cognition and regained capability to converse. I am pretty healthy and consume about 2-3 tbsp. per day; my HDL rose from an anemic 38 to an off the chart 73 in about 1.5 years. Coconut oil is so good for you in so many ways! It is not “devoid of nutrients”; the lauric acid it contains is very beneficial as well. I get mine by the 5 gallon bucket from Tropical Traditions.

      • Toxins


        Only 1 poorly concluded study with very mixed results on Alzheimers:

        Placebo and coconut fat takers scored no different on a cognitive impairment test when the subjects were randomized. If they weren’t randomized (which could represent stacking up the placebo group with very sick patients) then the coconut fat consumers scored slightly better after 45 days. After 90 days though everyone pretty much evened out. This is not something I would use as evidence either, yet it is.

    • Toxins

      Read my response to Steve below

  • Ak42

    I was reading and researching that coconut oil was great for memory and other issues. I am vegan. Is my info wrong?
    I used to think it was bad for you. But all this new info says lots of good things.

    Retyped for typos.


    • Toxins

       The evidence for coconut oil is surprisingly barren. It is simply pure fat with no vitamins, mineral, or antioxidants present.

      Only 1 study on weight loss:

      Forty obese women cut
      their food intake by 200 calories a day and exercised four days a week.
      Half of them used two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 240 calories’
      worth) every day in their cooking and half used soybean oil.
      After three months, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, about two pounds.

      Only 1 poorly concluded study with very mixed results on alzheimers:

      and coconut fat takers scored no different on a cognitive impairment
      test when the subjects were randomized. If they weren’t randomized
      (which could represent stacking up the placebo group with very sick
      patients) then the coconut fat consumers scored slightly better after 45
      days. After 90 days though everyone pretty much evened out.

      Only 1 old study done to “support” heart disease:

      the only study done in people in the last 17 years, Malaysian
      researchers last year found that when they fed young men and women 20
      percent of their calories from coconut oil for five weeks, LDL (“bad”)
      cholesterol was 8 percent higher and HDL (“good”) cholesterol was 7
      percent higher than when the participants were fed 20 percent of their
      calories from olive oil”

      Just because Both bad
      cholesterol and good cholesterol went up does not mean that coconut oil
      is protective against heart disease and it does not at all mean its
      healthy. This doesn’t make good sense.

      there you have it, this is the “evidence” that the media and public is
      going for that shows coconut oil as “healthy” when it indeed is
      definitely not.

  • Tblakeslee

     It appears that the ADA has yet to be enlightened on coconut oil. Here are some more recent articles you should read:
    The conventional wisdom on saturated fats has clearly been wrong and this has been demonstrated by the low incidence of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in countries that use coconut oil.
    The tomato effect?

  • Cosmic_star7

    I think cooking without any oil all of the time is just unreasonable. For example, I like to have fried tofu once in a while. Eating vegan is difficult enough, and we need to make it easier for people who are in transition. Once you are comfortable with it, you can start to scale back on foods that don’t have the highest nutrition. Also, the stuff that comes off of nonstick plans (i.e. Teflon) isn’t exactly good for you either. Cooking in a cast iron pan is much healthier! Lastly, there is no reason to eat low fat if the fat comes from whole foods like nuts.

    • beccadoggie10

      Cooking in a cast iron pan is fine is your body needs iron. But, if it does not because of an increasing age, or past menopause, then eating from a stainless steel pan would be better. What is in your pan, alike you water pipes, can affect your brain because of blood carries contaminates throughout your body.

      [My source: Neal Barnard, M.D. on PBS 3-7-2013 and in his book, Power Foods for the Brain].

      There is still a reason to watch your fat intake even if the fat comes from fat dense whole foods like nuts. Nuts are good, but too many are bad.

    • Occams_Razor

      I cook without fat all the time. Lowfat vegan… what’s not to like? Mmm… So many good dishes that I don’t get to them all, and have a few favorites.

  • Cosmic_star7

    I think cooking without any oil all of the time is just unreasonable.  Eating vegan is difficult enough, and we need to make it easier for people who are in transition. Once you are comfortable with it, you can start to scale back on foods that don’t have the highest nutrition. Also, the stuff that comes off of nonstick plans (i.e. Teflon) isn’t exactly good for you either. Cooking in a cast iron pan is much healthier! Lastly, there is no reason to eat low fat if the fat comes from whole foods like nuts.

    • Toxins

      Cooking without oil is perfectly reasonable, and completely doable. Those eating vegan who are overweight and cook with oil will have a lot of trouble losing the excess weight. Eating nuts all day is something that should not be viewed as healthy either.

      Due to very effective marketing and advertising, we have become convinced that oil is not only a food, but a health food. This is crazy. To be a food, something must be able to support healthy life and be of some benefit.

      Oil is a highly refined processed and extracted food “product”. It has no protein or essential amino acids (which we need), it has no carbohydrates, or sugars (which we need), it has no fiber (which we need), it has no minerals (which we need) and has virtually no vitamins (which we need) except for a small amount of Vit E and some phytosterols.

      But, on the other hand, it is pure fat and the most calorie dense food on the planet. While all oils have a mixture of mono, poly and saturated fat, most oils are very low in the essential fat omega 3 (which some of us may need more of), very high in the omega 6 (which most of us need to lower) and most oils also have high ratios of omega 6 to omega 3 (which most all of us need to lower).

      So, basically you are getting lots of calories (oils has almost 2.5 x more calorie per TB than sugar). lots of omega 6s, some saturated fat (depending on the oil) and virtually no nutrients.

      The definition of a junk food is a food that is high in calories (and/or fat, sugar, salt) and has little if any nutrient value at all. Oil, is more of a junk food than sugar. And, I hope that in a few years, we will all come to understand it and see it, as such.
      I am not sure how you are coming to the conclusion that we should choose nutrient poor foods, which I would assume being oil and other processed foods. None of these recommendations are advised by Dr. Greger or other plant based health professionals in the nutritional field.

      • omnimatty

        You should give credit to Jeff Novick for this information you posted, perhaps link to his page.

        • Rami Najjar – NF Moderator

          Thank you omnimatty, I have used this post before on the site and always give him credit where it is due. In this case I did not accidentally, I will make the necessary edits

          • omnimatty

            No worries, don’t mind me, I am just a Virgo :)

  • Ak42

    What about the people who say it fixes Alzheimer’s?

    • Toxins

      The evidence to prove its health benefits are scant.

      Only 1 study on weight loss:

      Forty obese women cut
      their food intake by 200 calories a day and exercised four days a week.
      Half of them used two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 240 calories’
      worth) every day in their cooking and half used soybean oil.
      After three months, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, about two pounds.

      Only 1 poorly concluded study with very mixed results on alzheimers:

      and coconut fat takers scored no different on a cognitive impairment
      test when the subjects were randomized. If they weren’t randomized
      (which could represent stacking up the placebo group with very sick
      patients) then the coconut fat consumers scored slightly better after 45
      days. After 90 days though everyone pretty much evened out.

      Only 1 old study done to “support” heart disease:

      the only study done in people in the last 17 years, Malaysian
      researchers last year found that when they fed young men and women 20
      percent of their calories from coconut oil for five weeks, LDL (“bad”)
      cholesterol was 8 percent higher and HDL (“good”) cholesterol was 7
      percent higher than when the participants were fed 20 percent of their
      calories from olive oil”

      Just because Both bad
      cholesterol and good cholesterol went up does not mean that coconut oil
      is protective against heart disease and it does not at all mean its
      healthy. This doesn’t make good sense.

      • Tblakeslee

        Your first link concludes with ” It appears that dietetic supplementation with coconut oil does not cause dyslipidemia and seems to promote a reduction in abdominal obesity.” Also said “only group C exhibited a reduction in WC (P = 0.005)” WC stands for waist circumfrence. How can you read that as a negative result?
        Your last reference concluded “No significant differences were observed in the effects of the 3 diets on plasma total homocysteine (tHcy) and the inflammatory markers “You seem to be reading these papers with a bias against coconut.
        There are still many populations who make heavy use of coconut oil and they have much less heart disease than we do.
        Please read this lecture by the past President, Philippine Heart Association and Philippine College of Physicians and Past President, 
        National Academy of Science and Technology

        • Toxins

          Did u not read how this study was done? Both groups lost weight after cutting out 200 calories a day and exercising 4 times a week, the coconut oil was not significant.

          And again, do u not realize that the last study i posted was  the only study done in the last 17 years on coconut oil that looked at the aspect of heart disease. These findings are insignificant and do not create a base of knowledge. The whole point of my post was to show the scant evidence for coconut oil and how the media has exploded it.

          The evidence the doctor presents represents populations that are not westernized and eat much healthier diets compared with America, they can get away with some coconut oil.

          I am not interested in consuming a product that is 91% saturated fat, 23% of that saturated fat being long chain fatty acids that contains no omega 3 of any kind and contains no vitamins or minerals.

          • tomblakeslee

            You are assuming that all saturated fat is bad.
            Please look at this 2012 paper:

            “all fats are not equal in their metabolic effects. For example, medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs), which typically contain fatty acids with chain lengths of ≤10 carbon atoms, are processed differently from long-chain triacylglycerols (LCTs) by the body (2). Because of their chain length, medium-chain fatty acids can be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and transported to the liver via the portal circulation without incorporation into chylomicrons. As a result, it is hypothesized that MCTs are oxidized to a greater extent than are LCTs and have less opportunity for deposition into adipose tissue”
            It concludes:
            “In conclusion, the results of this study show that a weight-loss diet that incorporates moderate amounts of MCT oil leads to greater losses of body weight and fat mass than does consumption of an equivalent amount of olive oil.”
            Also please read:

          • Toxins

            A tablespoon of coconut oil is 12 grams of total saturated fat. About 3 grams of this 12 are long chain saturated fatty acids. The oil itself is void of nturients. I do not see your logic in assuming because medium chain fatty acids are not as bad, this food is still healthy. The definition of junk food is empty calories and all oils satisfy this criteria.

          • Steve

            A tablespoon of water has zero vitamins, thus by your logic must be considered junk food.

          • Toxins

            The difference is water is actually needed while coconut oil is not. Lets not play foolish

      • Steve

        My brother-in-law with AD is doing quite well on coconut oil. I increased my HDL from mid-30’s to 68 in about a year of using coconut oil generously. Also, don’t worry about reducing cholesterol; it is a basic building block that your body needs and is also a super antioxidant; you would die without it, or if it gets too low. The huge long-term Framingham study showed increased heart disease and strokes when cholesterol dropped below 160 and went above 260. I aim for at least 200, with a high HDL. The problem is chronic inflammation, which causes LDL to be dispatched to patch up the arteries. It does that job very well but then oxidizes. That is why doctors believe cholesterol is such an evil.

  • Ak42

    Where did you find your info on this? I heard some of the same things. I also think Micheal always nails it. But I don’t know what to think here. Info is very confusing. Can you clear this up DOC?

  • Ak42

    If you want to cook without oil, use the “Green Pans.”

  • Ak42

    I am really confused about coconut oil.

    • Wickedchicken

      Go to the coconut reaearch center. Go to pubmed. Do your own research. When I did (for my work I had to) we had different conclusions…. I find it confusing that dr g is so adamant on this 1. Lots of evidence positive for weight, waist, diabetes, on pubmed. I use (a moderate amount of) coconut oil coconut milk and avocado and my LDL is under 1.6, triglyceride under 0.69 (the lowest possible reccomedations for heart disease prevention). Power Of plants and a plant based diet! I am totally confused why people are against it (it’s an mct…very different to lct). Good luck. :)

  • Kirbonite

    I would like to hear this explained in more detail.   Butter has cholesterol but coconut oil does not..  Not skeptical.. just interested in hearing the explanation.

    • Toxins

       Your liver can release ldl cholesterol when certain conditions are satisfied as a response to what is consumed in ones diet. A high fat diet tends to cause the liver to release more cholesterol.

    • Toxins

      High saturated fat intake can cause an increase in LDL cholesterol. 1 tablespoon of coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat.

      • Coconut oil Lowers LDL. Fat is much more complicated than your simplistic assumptions about saturated fat.

        • Toxins

          These studies do not at all support your conclusions. Have you actually looked through them or was this just a copy and paste?

          The first link simply shows that one fat, butter, didn’t reduce cholesterol as much as another, coconut oil or safflower oil. The safflower oil was actually more effective in reducing LDL cholesterol then the coconut oil. So what does this prove? Not much considering the fact that their LDL levels were still quite high.

          The second study shows an increase in both HDL and LDL. How does one conclude that this is protective if total cholesterol increases.

          The third study is also irrelevent.

          Forty obese women cut their food intake by 200 calories a day and exercised four days a week. Half of them used two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 240 calories’ worth) every day in their cooking and the other half used soybean oil.

          After three months, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, about two pounds. To me this is not at all significant, and it could very well be attributed to the loss of calories as well as the exercise, not the oil.

          So again, where is your evience? You have not proven anything to me yet. These studies do not support your cvlaim.

  • Mdgoo10

    I’m a massage therapist and use unscented coconut oil during my sessions. Should I stop using it? How is the body handling it when the oil is absorbed through the skin vs. when ingested?

    • Toxins

       Using coconut oil on the skin is perfectly safe. Your body does not assimilate the oil into the blood stream.

    • Skin absorption is minute compared to oral consumption. Keep using coconut oil. If nothing else their skin will be soft and they’ll smell great.

  • LauraK

    Dr. Greger,
    What about this article,, that states:
    “Thomas Brenna, a professor of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, told The New York Times:
    “Most of the [earlier] studies involving coconut oil were done with
    partially hydrogenated coconut oil, which researchers used because they
    needed to raise the cholesterol levels of their rabbits in order to
    obtain certain data”.

    Partial hydrogenation creates harmful trans fats and destroys
    many essential fatty acids and antioxidants present in virgin coconut
    oil, says Dr Brenna.

    “Virgin coconut oil, which has not been chemically treated,
    is a different thing in terms of health perspective,” says Dr Brenna.”
    Read more:

  • Thanks-the hype gets a lot of people, but not me!

  • Jeffwendiohara

    Saw the video but how about oil to cure or stop or prevent Alzheimer’s

    • Toxins

      Only 1 poorly concluded study with very mixed results on Alzheimers:

      Placebo and coconut fat takers scored no different on a cognitive impairment test when the subjects were randomized. If they weren’t randomized (which could represent stacking up the placebo group with very sick patients) then the coconut fat consumers scored slightly better after 45 days. After 90 days though everyone pretty much evened out..

  • Trailrunner

    I’ve been eating plant based, organic whole foods for the past 22 months. I consume 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil in my smoothies every day. My LDL is 29. Triglycerides are 59. I am going to start comsuming more healthy fats by eating more avocados and hemp seed because my HDL is a bit low at 51.

    • Toxins

      There is no dietary need to consume other fats, other then the essential omega 3 and 6 fats. Including other fats into your diet would hurt the 4:1 ratio of omega 6:3 which would result in inadequate conversion of ALA to EPA and DHA.

  • Danstallion

    Hi Doc.  I have read that because coconut oil is in form of MCT, that the body would burn it much more quickly and efficiently (upto 90% if I am correct), thus it wouldn’t have much negative effect on cholesterol.   The video doesn’t seem to go into how exactly coconut oil/butter contributes to more cholesterols or LDL.  Love to hear more on this.  thank you.

    • Toxins

      Coconut oil manufacturers constantly point a finger to the medium chain saturated fatty acids being used for energy expenditure and therefore not being disposed of as fat in adipose tissue. Coconut oil does indeed contain medium chain fatty acids and this may be metabolized differently but there are very few studies to make the conclusion that coconut oil is “ok” or that medium chain saturated fats are negligible. A tablespoon of coconut oil has about 12 grams of total saturated fat. about 8 grams of this is medium chain saturated fat and about 3.7 grams of this is long chain saturated fat. We have an abundance of evidence concluding that long chain saturated fats are harmful so we cannot consider this oil a healthy option based on that alone.

      As far as minerals and vitamins go, there is not one significant vitamin or mineral in coconut oil. The only vitamin present in a tablespoon of coconut oil is .1 micrograms of vitamin k which does not even register as a percentage of daily value. Its also absent of any omega 3 fats. Just looking at coconut oils nutritional profile we see that it is clearly a junk food. Junk food is by definition empty calories.

  • so the 10 grams of fat in a 1/4 cup of canned coconut milk are a no no, ey?
    cesare civetta

  • I can’t believe what I just heard. I looked up the study cited at 1:15 on this video, and it does NOT say that coconut oil is as bad as butter! On the contrary, and I quote: “LDL cholesterol and apoB levels were significantly different among the diets and were significantly LOWER (emphasis mine) during coconut and safflower oil diets compared with butter diets.” That’s not all… again, I quote: “CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared with diets rich in butter and might be associated with lower production rates of apoB-containing lipoproteins.” I have the utmost respect and admiration for Dr. Gregor, but he has been wrong about coconut oil for a long time. Why does he deliberately mislead us and misquote a study?

    • Did you look at the data ? Do you see the superscript a’s next to both butter and coconut oil in table 3? I’ll take a screenshot and put it in the Supplementary Info above for people who don’t have access to the study. For those unfamiliar with reading scientific annotation, that means (as described at the bottom of the table) that there was no significant difference between the rise in cholesterol in the people eating butter and the rise in cholesterol in people eating coconut oil, validating the statement I made in the video. There have been a bunch of studies published since this one that I’m going to review in another video coming up soon–stay tuned!

      • You just whetted our appetites with all those flickering lights. I was waiting for the 411 on coconut milk and flakes.

  • David

    I’m sorry but wickedchicken is right on. This video is irresponsible! What a vague statement that it’s as harmful as butter (and completely untrue)! it actually raises your HDL cholesterol & reduces oxidizing effects on LDL (and may raise it very slightly) which overall, if you read the literature plays a practically negligible risk in heart disease etc…

  • jim

    There are many studies on the web that have proven that organic,
    virgin coconut oil (not hydrogenated coconut oil) have positively impacted
    overall HDL cholesterol in the body. Here is a link to
    one of the many studies:

    Is your conclusion the same for organic virgin coconut oil?

    • Toxins

      table 2 shows an increase in LDL cholesterol with increasing coconut oil. I do not see how coconut oil is supported with this evidence. Just because both LDL and HDL went up does not mean that coconut oil is protective against heart disease.

  • Liz

    Dr. Greger coud you check out the studies by the above user?

    • Toxins

      I responded above

  • Much of the research on Coconut oil and weight gain uses MCT oil which is about half of coconut oil. This 2012 survey of it’s effect on diet surveys 14 articles and concludes: “The use of MCT may become an important alternative in the treatment of obesity, if playing a role in a complete and balanced diet. The beneficial effects of MCT are associated with improvement in body composition and increased EE, without obvious effects on food intake. Therefore, more studies are needed to establish the adequate amounts of MCT consumption and possible long term side effects, contributing to new understandings on diminished weight gain and improved quality of life for the population.”

  • Toxins

    Have you read through these studies?

    The first study you cite compares olive oil and coconut oil. Besides the fact that we are looking at 2 foods that are 100% fat, and are empty calories, the subjects cut their caloric intake. “As part of the weight-loss program, the subjects were counseled to reduce their caloric intakes to 1500 kcal/d for women and 1800 kcal/d for men”

    Of course they would lose weight eating this way. The only determinant was how fast they lost the weight. Yes it is true that coconut oil caused faster weight loss, but that isn’t saying much since the subjects were already overweight and significantly cut their calories. We cannot assume that those that are lean would benefit from adding coconut oil, nor should we assume that those trying to lose weight eating a plant based diet should add coconut oil, or any oil for that matter to lose weight. Fat does not trigger the same satiation mechanisms as carbohydrates do, and if one adds in an additional 3 tablespoons of coconut oil per day, that is about 360 empty calories. We must remember too that coconut oil is not all medium chain fatty acids, per tablespoon, 3.7 grams of this saturated fat is long chain saturated fat which we know, and fully understand to be harmful.
    the next study you cite is not any better.

    Forty obese women cut their food intake by 200 calories a day and exercised four days a week. Half of them used two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 240 calories’ worth) every day in their cooking and the other half used soybean oil.

    After three months, both groups had lost the same amount of weight, about two pounds. To me this is not at all significant, and it could very well be attributed to the loss of calories as well as the exercise, not the oil.

    Just looking at the abstract of the 3rd study, all its saying is that other oils tend to have bad omega 6:3 ratios, which is already understood to be harmful. They say coconut oil would be a substitute for these oils because of its low omega 6 content. Considering that coconut oil does not even contain omega 3, this is irrelevant and unhelpful information. Perhaps if one consumes lots of oil containing high levels of omega 6 this information would be beneficial to switch, but for those who have adequate omega 6:3 ratios, that being 4:1 on a low fat, whole foods, oil free plant based diet would find that their ratios would be in check so there would be no need for adding coconut oil.

    • Thea

      Toxins: As usual, awesome replies. So, so helpful.

    • You Should really read Dr Mary Enig’s book “Eat Fat Lose Fat.” She is the Doctor that first recognized the dangers of transfats and fought the establishment for decades till they finally saw the light. Fats are much more than a way to get vitamins and ammino acids. Fats are necessary for nutrition and affect your body and it’s gut flora in many important ways. Food is much more than the few elements we currently understand. The Keys view of all saturated fats as an evil has been pretty much disproven. Coconut oil has been eaten for millions of years and resulted in virtually no heart disease till the Keys lies spread and caused people to replace the coconut oil with corn oil.

      • Toxins

        I prefer to draw conclusions based on the latest available science from peer reviewed journals rather then the opinions of some doctor. People can misconstrue studies and data anyway they want in order support their point of view. It is best to view the studies themselves in their entirety and make an unbiased decision.

        Now in regards to what your saying. The only 2 fats we have any dietary need for are omega 3 and omega 6. These are why they are called essential fats. We have no dietary need for any other fat as our cells are capable of creating everything else they need. In the words of the national academy of science, one of the most respectable scientific bodies,

        “Saturated fatty acids are synthesized by the body to provide an adequate level needed for their physiological and structural functions; they have no known role in preventing chronic diseases. Therefore, neither an AI nor RDA is set for saturated fatty acids. There is a positive linear trend between total saturated fatty acid intake and total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration and increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). A UL is not set for saturated fatty acids because any incremental increase in saturated fatty acid intake increases CHD risk”

        Your gut flora is most strongly affected by fiber, not fat. This is why those eating a plant based diet, and especially those who eat lots of beans which contain indigestible starches, release gas. It is because the gut flora is fermenting the soluble fiber.

        You are exactly right about food being more then just a few minerals. That is why we cannot have fortified cocoa puffs and classify it as a health food just because it contains all the vitamins and minerals. Food is a package deal and must contain an array of phytonutrients that promote health, be high in fiber, and help prevent chronic disease. What part of coconut oil on this nutrition label fits this criteria?

        I see no fiber whatsoever, and we can assume that the phytonutrients have also been stripped with the coconut flesh. So what we have here is a calorie dense, nutrient poor food that is 91% saturated fat, 3.7 grams per tablespoon of that being well understood long chain saturated fatty acids.

        No oil is a health food whether is be olive, corn oil, or coconut. This is a diet fad perpetuated by misconstrued science. Saturated fat has not been proven to be a health food, nor has it been proven to have no relation with heart disease. Regardless of where you may have read this on an internet article or in a book, this is simply untrue.

        Every study I have seen (there are not that many) that has been touted to support coconut oil is lacking in relevance and applicability. If you have some solid evidence, from a peer reviewed journal then please share. Otherwise, I see no point in believing the opinions of what a doctor wrote in an article or book because it sounds appealing. That’s how the raw foodists, atkins and paleo diet followers get into trouble.

  • Toxins

    It is irrelevant how coconut oil is processed. The issue is the saturated fat content, that being 12 grams per tablespoon.

  • Jon

    The study does not state what type of coconut oil was used. Organic Extra Virgin cold pressed coconut oil does not contain hydrogenated fats. Any type of fat or oil which is hydrogenated is going to be bad for you. From what I’ve researched the majority of studies on coconut oil used hydrogenated coconut oil rather than organic extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil. Is there any scientific evidence to prove that organic extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil is bad for you??? My bet would be no

    • Jon

      Also note, if you cook any healthy oil past a certain temperature, in most cases the oil’s smoke point, it will turn the oil into a trans fat. Any studies which do not take this into consideration would be flawed.

  • Ben

    Dr. Mike,

    Here’s a question I thought it’d be fun to pose: Have you come across any studies which attempt to answer the question, “Does the topical application of extracted plant oils (e.g., olive, coconut) contribute to obesity?”

    In other words, can oil molecules pass through the skin, enter the bloodstream, and be deposited within a person’s fat cells?

    p.s. Thanks for posting your 2012 Year-In-Review– fantastic video!

  • Daniel

    are ceramic coated nonstick pans safe for use?

  • kate

    What about coconut butter?

  • Thinkabouddit

    Here is an advertisement by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger. Where does he get his information?

    Dear NaturalNews readers,

    By popular demand, our raw organic extra virgin coconut oil is back in stock!

    You’ve probably read quite a lot recently about the extraordinary properties of coconut oil. I think it’s the most powerful brain-supporting superfood yet discovered. It’s also great for cooking, as it has remarkable temperature tolerance.

  • Mark

    Dear Dr. Greger,

    first of all: thanks for all the awesome info, I sure learn a ton watching your videos.

    Second, I’d like to ask you a question about coconut oil. Now, to be sure: I’m not arguing with you, this is merely to satisfy my curiosity and clear up the dietary confusion (fat chance! :-).

    Basically, how do you determine which studies to take into account? It seems like a lot of experts are “cherry picking” their studies, so as to suit their opinion (though I’m not accusing you of this).

    I mean, how about those that tout coconut oil as the smartest fat in town, and back up their claims with studies such as these:

    Thanks a lot in advance Dr. Greger, I much enjoy your work!

    Mark Kislich

  • I_Fortuna

    Modstream, I know this is late but a small amount of coconut oil should be the safest from what I have read. Being highly saturated, it is less damaged when heated vs. other oils used for cooking. Oxidation does not occur unless the heat is so high as to cause it to smoke. Oxidation of the oils is apparently the problem that leads it to be unhealthful. There is not a whole lot of hard scientific data on coconut oil but there are groups that are not biased (directly) that have done studies. I am always wary of those sites that make claims and are selling something. I google for scientific papers or studies and that is my recommendation to ensure unbiased information. Look for citations on sites that make claims to see where they are getting their info. Often they cannot back up their claims with hard scientific and credible data.

  • Ed

    Dr. oz had a lady on a few weeks ago that said the newest study studies claim coconut oil is good for us. How can the dr.oz show be wrong. :)

  • Ben Colin

    Hello, I really like your page, but this time the conclusion in the video and the conclusion of the study you cited fall apart. Cox et al. conclude that: “These data suggest that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared with diets rich in butter […]”. That counts especially for LDL cholesterol which was “significantly lower during coconut and safflower oil diets compared with butter diets.”
    Of corse I have not seen the raw data, but it is definitely not right to say, that there is no difference between butter and cholesterol, based on this study.

  • Richard Crandall

    Hi Dr. Greger,

    First of all, thanks for all of this great nutrition information—you are a lifesaver!

    I was wondering: Even though coconut oil is bad for one’s cholesterol levels, is it effective, as I’ve heard in various places online, as an aid to weight loss? I’ve read ( that medium-chain triglycerides, of which coconut oil contains plenty, actually help people burn fat, especially when compared to the triglycerides found in more traditional oils like olive oil.

    I know that a doctor and nutritionist probably cringes at the thought of someone risking their heart-health for the sake of weight loss—at least I’m a vegan, so I’m not getting much saturated fat in my diet otherwise—but is it indeed possible that coconut oil can help people, whether they’re obese or not, shed some body fat?

  • Colleen (

    What about unsweetened coconut flakes?

  • Leah

    Coconut oil is recommended (3 1/2 tbsp. per day) as a treatment for fungal infections. My question is, what could one take as an alternative since the coconut oil option isn’t sounding great ;)

  • JC

    Dr. Greger-

    The evidence that you cite is weak, and the supplemental evidence that you also provide us not based in any research studies directly using unprocessed coconut oil. You simply link the evidence on harmful effects of saturated fats on health. But, as Harvard’s researchers have stated time and time again, there’s no evidence to conclude that coconut oil is harmful or beneficial to one’s health. Furthermore, here’s some actual evidence in the link between coconut oil use, and levels of HDL, LDL, and their ratio (with a bonus on its effects on waist circumference reduction): “Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.” Jnl: Lipids, 2009, 44(7), 593-599.

  • Ruby

    You know, here is the only place on this site where I have seen an unqualified staement made with any reason, much less data. Disappointing. And sinc ethis is the case I am going to contradict the unqualified statement wiht this; I use it daily. It healed my body of a 2yr staph infection that nothing else did. Goldenseal killed it when it errupted, but it always came back till I started using coconut oil on my skin daily. I can lay in the sun all day long covered in cocnut oil and never burn (Italian/olive skin). I live in the tropics so I also have access to whole fresh cocnuts and of course the water is simply divine, I want to say here and now, THE MEAT HAS MADE MY BODY QUIVER WITH EXTACY. No one will ever convince me with ANY data that coco meat is a bad saturated fat. Not for this body. QUITE the contrary. I also have a neurological disease so fats are needed. While I do not care to injest teh manufactured oil, probbaly for the same reason I eat real fruit and not store bought fruit juice (so much is lost) I do grase down with it and it causes similar feelings as eating the fresh meat, like it’s a relief to get it on me. SO, while refined oils of any kind are probably not recommended in large amounts, to villify coco oil by putting it in the same category as butter is WAY out of line if you ask me. . . to the point of being irresponsible. To say such things in this kind of forum with folks listening and seeking erudite health info, and while you offer SO MUCH of that across the board on this site, to be so careless on this issue seems nothing but sloppy and irrsponsible. . . and I will maintain it is also highly erroneous to boot. . . let’s see some research please and expand this vid. WHY is a plant based saturated fat as bad as frikkin butter sir?? Throw us a bone here. . . . I think you may have this one WRONG. Parkinson’s is also neurolgogical. It’s a shame that a blind side would be on somehting so essential to nerve health and ATP production. I think coco’s are HEALING, meat and all, BECAUSE they have saturated fat. . . and the internal water which can be given intravenously is what makes the meat silly. And one last: I heard of an experiment of a physician in France 100 or so years ago who draind all a sick patient’s blood and replaced it with cocowater. he got off the tabel and felt better than he ever had. I think he supposedly ran all the way home. Please rethink and research this nut and it’s saturated fat. Thank you.

  • tristan

    why do you say that it is as harmful as butter whilst showing a screen shot of a study which states that diets high in coconut oil are associated with lower levels of cholesterol synthesis. Is this a mistake on your behalf or mine?

  • tristan

    SERIOUSLY, I’m so confused, as harmful as butter, yet the study says otherwise

  • I have been a whole food plant based vegan for several years and had practically eliminated processed oils from my diet as Dr. Fuhrman recommends. My total cholesterol was 158 a year ago (LDL 98.4). However, while staying at Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center, Dr. Cousens said cholesterol below 159 leads to depression and is a risk factor for suicide. I was also told that coconut oil taken with chia seeds accelerates the conversion of short chain to long-chain EFAs. Since then, I began taking coconut oil and resumed my use of extra virgin olive oil, as well. My cholesterol was up to 172 (LDL 101) as of December. The naturopathic doctor (ND) who ran my blood chemistry said that cholesterol should be 220-and that 220 was a “stability point”. She also gave me information that quoted Ancel Keys, PhD, who said “There’s no connection whatsoever between cholesterol in food and cholesterol in the blood, NONE.” and that the key to lowering cholesterol is lowering sugar (i.e. from refined carbohydrates). What say ye, Dr. Greger?

  • Ruby

    Found some contentious info to this vid, and since I agree that coconut fat is good and not bad (in my body) and it mentions coconut’s medium chained saturated fats as different than long chained ones, I thought I’d share it, because it contends differently to the study you have here on those grounds. May be of interest? I’d be interested in a rebut from you Dr G, in any case, especially since there’s yet been no mention of medium vs long chined fatty acids from yo that I am aware. I’ll paste a blurb of the essence, then the link to the page I found it on:

    “Coconut oil is a saturated fat. But do not be afraid! Unlike long- chained saturated fats that have been attributed to poor health, the oil is a medium-chained fatty acid with numerous health benefits. Medium-chained fatty acids support the immune system, the thyroid gland, the skin, support healthy hormone production, increase metabolism, and supply efficient and fast energy for your body. Coconut oil contains very low levels of cholesterol and actually supports the health of your heart. In a study published in Clinical Biochemistry, 2004, researchers looked at coconut oil as a component of diet in laboratory animals.

    “In this study, virgin coconut oil, which was obtained by wet process, had a beneficial effect in lowering total cholesterol, triglycerides, phospholipids and low density lipoproteins (LDL). The effects were uniformly beneficial. In serum and tissues, very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol levels werelowered and HDL-cholesterol was increased. The polyphenolfraction of virgin coconut oil was also found to prevent in vitro LDL-oxidation. We know thatoxidized cholesterol can initiate the process of atherosclerosis—the fatty acids in coconut oil prevent this oxidation. The results in this study were interpreted as due to the biologically active polyphenol components present in the oil.”. . . .

    • Thea

      Ruby: Here’s a thought for you concerning coconut fat:

      You agree to the following, “long-chained saturated fats have been attributed to poor health” Did you know that 1/4 of the saturated fat in coconut oil is long chain? Even **if** we had some good science that the medium chain affects our health differently than the long chain, you have to remember that, “food is a package deal.” This saying means: When you eat food, you don’t just eat the good parts. You eat it all. For example, when you drink a Coca Cola, you don’t just get the really good, large amounts of water, you get all the bad stuff too. Similarly, when you eat the coconut fat, you get the long chain fatty acids right along with the medium chain.

      Combine that information with the following: The essential fats are the poly unsaturated fats – such as omega 6 and omega 3. What this means is that your body makes all of the other kinds of fats that it needs: saturated and mono unsaturated. The human body has no need to consume fats high in saturated fat. Coconut oil is (if memory serves) about 91% saturated fat. Wow.

      Something to think about.

      • Ruby

        Ok, so 1/4 of the saturated fats in coconuts are long chain. Did not know that. But still, this makes tossing coconuts out of the arean, done despite that just 22.5% are long chain, while the rest medium chain. It just sems like without more god study on medium chain, why toss the baby of possible benefit out with the bathwater of the mall percentage of long chain? As qualifier I should restate that I eat whole fresh coconuts, and the affects of doing so are VERY OBVIOULY GOOD on me, immediately. For me the coconut is a necessary food. It’s important for me not to overingest the meat, or if so I feel that slowdown affect, as I do from any long chain fat, which affects me similarly as does overeating – makes me feel slow and lethargic and heavy in the stomach. But if I go a month without the meat? When I eat it my skin goosbumps and I devour happily – it’s as if my body takes over like, wtf why have you been not feeding me properly!! you KNOW we need this!! – and with no issues with digestion I can, and do, consume the meat of a whole one.. . . Thus I am interested in data suporting the reason for my experience of need of this saturated fat. And I have heard we need saturated fat for some enzymatic process and yet cannot find any data on this any longer so I am frustrated, defending my body experience, and hoping that all this poo pooing does not keep others from getting it if it is what their body needs, as it seems to be with mine. I appreciate your data specification about the 22.5% long chain fat in the coco, and I’d love elucidation as to where you found that data if you can share. Thanks Thea!

        • Thea

          Ruby: I am not saying what you should and should not eat. I’m glad you found a food that works for you. I agree that eating whole coconut would certainly be better than just eating the oil. The video above is about the oil…

          As for why throw out the baby with the bath water – I will refer you to the “food is a package deal” explanation above. Would you say that about drinking a soda? (Why throw out the baby with the bath water? There is so much water and so little chemicals…)

          I got the information about long vs medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil from Toxins, one of the NutritionFacts team members. I’m not sure where Toxins got it from. But here is a quote for you (from Toxins):

          “Coconut oil does indeed contain medium chain fatty
          acids and this may be metabolized differently but there are very few studies to
          make the conclusion that coconut oil is “ok” or that medium chain
          saturated fats are negligible. A tablespoon of coconut oil has about 11.7 grams
          of saturated fat. about 8 grams of this is medium chain saturated fat and about
          3.7 grams of this is long chain saturated fat. We have an abundance of evidence
          concluding that that long chain saturated fats are harmful so we cannot
          consider this oil a healthy option based on that alone.”

          I trust the quality of Toxins’ posts. Perhaps he will catch this post and jump in with his source.

          Good luck.

          • Ruby

            I appreciate the link to the percentages info, but I will not entertain any correlation of a corporate made non food such as cola to a whole coconut, whatsoever. At all. Respect Thea. Appreciate the intensions of your input, but I also have seen mr toxins’s posts and have some issue with his views. Despite, I will check it out. Thanks for sharing.

  • Its amazing how strongly people continue to defend the ban on saturated fats though it seems to have been a mistaken conclusion not backed by science.

    This book by David Evans lists 101 scientific papers that contradict this idea:

  • Debbie

    Might be a weird question..could your cholesterol go up if your are given a massage using coconut oil? Just wondering..

    • JacquieRN

      Hi Debbie, we know that the skin absorbs certain things – say like medications via skin patches into the blood stream. But as far as I know, research about skin absorption rates of massage or coconut oils have not been done on adults (some on pre-term babies with very thin skin).

      Remember that old adage that water and oil don’t mix. The oil will mix in with the natural lipids of the stratum corneum (1st skin layer) and some may well move gradually into the deeper layers of this barrier. But once on the other side, they encounter an environment which is very watery. For an oil, this is not a fun place and therefore, fat transfer out of the stratum corneum will be very slow and unfavorable. Therefore, amount of oil that will end up ever reaching the inside of the body will be infinitesimal if any.

      Its a good wondering!

      • Debbie

        Thank you for your response. :) I need to bring my cholesterol down and just wasn’t sure if this would make it worse.

  • Galiya

    what about the raw cold pressed one?

  • Mark

    Dr. Greger: Please reply to this post.

    I have been following the Pritikin diet pretty conscientiously for about 40 years and have very low cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar. etc. But there apparently is some scientific literature that challenges the superiority of a low fat and even low saturated fat diet. There is for example a big website run by a Dr. Mercola who argues that the usual studies cited in support of a low-fat diet actually did not support it. For example, he claims that the Framingham study found that higher fat consumption was associated with lower cholesterol.

    He also advocates eating coconut because it contains lauric acid, which you identified as deleterious, but he refers to studies that show it turns into monolaurin in the body and this substance is an effective at killing viruses including HIV. He also refers to studies that claim that Polynesians who more or less lived on coconuts did not get sick and had no heart disease until the Europeans came and changed their diet.

    Is this guy and this research totally crank? I mean, he recommends lots of exercise and warns about too much Omega 6 vs. Omega 3 so he’s accurate about that, but he also recommends intermittent fasting, such as by skipping breakfast, for longevity.

    He also has several sub-sites in his website criticizing the China Study.

    Please Dr. Greger could you reply and tell us what you think is going on here? Is this guy just mislead? Is there anything to what he claims?
    Thanks very much.

    • Mark

      Let me add that I think Dr. Mercola may have a tendency to be misleading. He does mention, for example, Pritikin on a few of his pages. But he asserts that Pritikin’s low-fat diet was probably not the cause of the success of his program, and he even tries to make it appear that Pritikin was following a low-fat diet to combat his leukemia. Mercola does NOT mention that Pritikin had undergone radiation treatment in the early 1950s, which caused his leukemia, and Pritikin does not appear to have ever asserted that he followed the diet to fight off leukemia. (See the biography by Ilene Pritikin.) Mercola told only part of Pritikin’s historry and made up a false story to try to discredit Pritikin. This is a kind of manipulation and an example of unethical scholarly conduct.

    • nodelord

      Yes I too would like to hear Dr. Greger’s responce to this. The video didn’t continue to rate cocnut milk or flakes?? and where are the reffernce studies?

  • Han

    What is it with all those guys that want to believe saturated fat is good for you? Where do they come from? And why are they always insultive?

  • Judith Legendre

    I have replaced butter with it ….It can be flavored with nutritional yeast as a cheese flavored spreed …its good for you skin and most of all its Cholesterol 0 mg…so it burns fast like a carb

  • Boomer4Health .

    Did you know that 25 percent of your body’s cholesterol is located in your brain?
    Look up The Cholesterol Myth.
    Look up Your Brain Needs Cholesterol.
    Look up Cholesterol is Crucial For Healthy Cell Functioning.
    Look up The Benefits of Cholesterol.

    • Thea

      Boomer4Health: re: Cholesterol in the brain.
      Did you know that your body makes all of the cholesterol it needs? Including all of the cholesterol that your brain needs? Not only that, but taking in extra cholesterol through your diet is well known to increase risk of chronic diseases.

      If you want to understand why arguments like the “Cholesterol Myth” are not based on logic or science, you can learn about it and see all the fallacies at Start at the beginning of the video series and learn how cholesterol denialism is just as hokey and anti-science as climate change denial. You are in for a real eye-opener.

  • Skepti Cat

    Richard, if you haven’t found the answer yet, the reason why coconut oil is helpful for weight loss is because it has a positive effect on the thyroid (think metabolism). In the US, soy is practically a food staple as it is found in many foods in some form or another, but unfortunately soy is a known endocrine disruptor
    and so it is not thyroid friendly. You’ve no doubt heard of hypothyroidism (sluggish thyroid). Grain oils include soy, corn, vegetable, canola. All of these oils turn to trans-fats when heated, so if you must use them, at least don’t cook with them. Coconut oil on the other hand is heat stable, as well as light and oxygen stable. Here is a very good article on the subject.

  • Ann Lloyd

    This question as been brought up before but i haven’t seen a
    reply…on two different occasions there has been a positive response to
    the question of ” is coconut water good for you” and on the other
    occasion the response was negative so we all need some clarification

    is coconut water good for us?

    Ann Lloyd

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Dr. Greger does mention coconut water, see if that link helps.

  • David

    I understand that Dr. Mike is not recommending, but since I enjoy frying, sometimes, Doc. would you recommend Coconut Oil, over the corn and vegetable counterparts?

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      I would, since corn is more geared toward omega 6’s thus more pro-inflammatory. Thanks David and I must say a very well stated question. I hope to see more of them.


  • Sharon

    Plez comment on this study about coconut oil & colon cancer Thanks!

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Thanks for reposting! It’s great colon cancer cells are affected by coconut oil in a petri dish, but we need large human trials in order to really promote it as a cancer fighter. The only other studies I found on coconut and cancer seemed to be animal studies (not very useable).

  • Eunice Parcelas

    Haha, loved your desert island idea, but I think I’ll try in one of my patients first to make sure it works!!
    Anyways, what about the other two coconut sources you didn’t talk about? And how is coconut oil compared to olive oil? In the other videos I watched, it seemed you didn’t talk so negatively about olive oil…
    Keep up the good work!

  • disqus_5SCkNVKSza

    I’d love to hear Dr Greger’s opinion of MCT oil. Does he believe it has any value, eg for people trying to gain weight after excessive weightloss caused by fat malabsorption from celiac disease, etc, or is it just another con to sell a byproduct of coconut processing?

  • Holly G

    Where’s the rest of the video?

  • kevin bettis

    Requesting a video on coconut water. Is it helpful or harmful Thanks

  • FruitedDragon

    I refined my diet to ONLY fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, oats and sprouts. My supermarket has cans of coconut water (with pulp) that contains: young coconut juice, water, young coconut pulp, sodium metabisulphite. It’s made by “Jumex” and contains 80mg of sodium per 310ml. Despite the name on the can sounding like a racial slur, I love these things and they’re like fifty cents per can. So what’s the deal with this stuff? Do you think it’s harmful, harmless or helpful? Is a can per day okay, a can per week? I want to hear you say drink as much as possible without cutting out the green and hibiscus teas (no more plain H2O for me) but I’ll take the truth, whatever that may be. Thanks for your existence. You’ve changed the WORLD!

  • Alexis Magness

    Dr. Greger, finding you recently has changed my life! THANK YOU for all your research and for putting all this information out into the public eye at no charge. Also I discovered you are donating all proceeds from your book to charity. That is just wonderful.

    I am trying to learn as much about nutrition as I can after spending 47 years being sick and tired. Literally. I just saw this site come up on Facebook: and before I try it out or share it, I wanted your take on it. It may have been asked and answered in this thread but I tried to read all the posts below and didn’t see this exact answer (if it’s there I apologize). With all of these so called benefits to 2T of coconut oil per day mentioned on the healthy cures site and backed up with references at the end of the article, is it possible that the good outweighs the bad and that we should be consuming 2T of coconut oil if it’s “pure”? I’m wondering if your views on coconut oil have changed at all. That site’s references all seem legitimate. What do you think?

    • Thea

      Alexis: Dr. Greger just published a new book a couple months ago called How Not To Die. I would say that his opinion of coconut oil remains unchanged. I would say that coconut oil has better marketing than good science. But I would leave it up to you to judge for yourself if you think I interpreted that opinion correctly.
      When it comes to oils, one of the best talks I have seen is from Jeff Novick, From Oil To Nuts. Dr. Greger recommends Jeff Novick’s Fast Food DVDs in his new book, so I think Dr. Greger is likely in agreement with Jeff’s main ideas about nutrition. The talk costs money, but there is a free exerpt on youtube that is well worth the few minutes it takes to watch. Jeff is both entertaining and a master at explaining this type of information. The talk compares sugar to olive oil. The next part of the talk that is not included for free adds a column for coconut oil. I’m sure you can guess after seeing the free part what the next part is going to say. Only coconut oil comes out even worse…
      Does that help? It was fun to read your excitement about this type of information. I’m so glad you found this site!

  • jon

    This is ridiculous. “I heard coconut oil…,” “but, dr. so and so said…,” “well, burning ketone is bad/good…,” and “dr. Greger, will you respond to this message…”

    I wanted a simple answer, for a simple question, but can’t get it because everyone who disagrees seems to be sure of their own unbiased research stolen from places like Prevention Magazine. The Dr. won’t respond when challenged and there’s way too many know-it-alls on this site.

    The reason people do their own research is because they know several things: they are lied to by health organizations influenced by pharmaceutical companies, Monsanto giants and lobbies that will destroy your career, if you don’t play ball and the, flat out, admission that our very own, tax payer funded organizations can’t mess with the fast food, restaurant and soft drink industry.

    I’ll keep looking. Maybe, when there is a dr. who has suffered more than med school residency publishes the benefits of fixing a body that has endured above average hardships and not for snooty vegans, that already know it all, I’ll start listening.

    Before I get the “how dare you,” if you’re a lifelong vegan, follwer, expert, who hasn’t pushed your body and mind, to its limits, don’t post. Wear my boots, experience what I’ve lived and then try to fix what most Dr’s can’t.

    Until then, I’ll pass on the jr. high mumbo jumbo. If it worked, everyone would post “thanks” instead of this.

  • david

    so instead of using coco oil to stir fry my veggies, what source would you use? avocado oil?

    • Thea

      david:Since no oil is healthy, people concerned with healthy eating recommend using this method:
      If you are going to use oil no matter what and just want to use one that might be a little less bad, I think that is a tough call because of a variety of factors. Goals might including using an oil with the smallest amount of saturated fat and the most omega 3 and is affordable and is good with high heat and is not GMO and is known to have a long shelf life in grocery stores (rancid oils on the grocery shelf are a real problem!: ). I don’t think any oil fits all of those criteria (I would love to find out differently from others–please jump in here!) But I personally think that organic Canola oil comes the closest to meeting most of those goals as best as can be found.

  • trevybear

    I will go with thousands and thousands of years of Asian’s using coconut oil successfully as a superior health remedy and treatment for so many many illnesses. After reading this I realize I need to start taking coconut oil on a daily basis. I will update you all in a few months to the benefits I found from using it. As in Chinese medicine it has been proven for 10’s of thousands of years and likewise I feel the superior health of the Asian Pacific Islanders will be far more correct than people that recommend or support the use of Staten medications that actually kill you and ruin your organs. I believe the studies/research done in the West are not accurate due to the horrible food choices involved in a typical modern diet. The western pharmaceutical companies or most likely Staten manufacturers are behind the studies funding them to keep people away from something that will improve peoples cholesterol naturally and decreasing their profits. Even most doctors don’t understand the way the different cholesterol’s balance each other out and it’s not their fault as they have been misinformed by the research and educators. Anyways glad I saw the comments and found the urgency to start using coconut oil on a daily basis. I don’t care how brainwashed some of you Dr’s/people are with 50 years of experience. Just remember that the tobacco companies could at one time prove that cigarette smoking was not harmful, and that being said many, many Dr’s smoked believing the research and the lie. So say what you want I am going with Steve’s input and with 1000’s and 1000’s of years of history with results that prove amazing results in the Asia Pacific population etc. population. You can say what you will you are brainwashed people being told lies to help line the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies.
    Drugs have there place and many are wonderful but most are very very harmful and cause HUGE amounts of illness and death. Many many prescription medications have the side effect of death. You going to tell me the coconut oil has the side effect of death? Why does the Asia Pacific population that consumes coconut oil live so long and healthy and don’t have high cholesterol? Not only that it was/is used for so many, many illnesses. They call the coconut the tree of life it is so good. Anyways go back to your brainwashing studies people and miss out on the truth and reality because of big business/money influencing the studies that you follow. I believe the research that has been done that Dr. Gregor has spoke about for example the Asian diet where there is high consumption of vegetables, beans, potatoes and rice etc. there are almost no illness’s reported among the people with a low or no animal product diet. This is a true study that is not contaminated by men’s theories and cannot be manipulated by men who are influence by monetary/political gain etc. Like I say at one point smoking was not unhealthy according to studies. These coconut oil studies are most likely done in the West with an extremely low number of individual participants and in a part of the globe that does not really consume coconut oil and has a diet full of extremely dangerous chemicals added to the food as well as a high intake of animal products. Unlike the Asia Pacific people who have a high vegetable and fruit diet. I tend to believe people like Steve who have really, really done their research for hours and hours on end and not reading one or two studies and coming to a conclusion that they are experts on the issue. As well as personal results with his own health as well as others he knows personally. One more thing, why are the Asia Pacific people’s that consume coconut oil not dying from cardiovascular diseases? Go ahead and believe your corporate/political backed studies I am going with the proof of the successful use of coconut oil from the actual results of it’s use in ancient/current history. Well done Steve you got me to get on it right away. I have some in the cupboard and will be using it right now. Thanks again Steve I have a wonderful feeling it will change my life in a huge way. Will post an update in a few months if there are any changes to my health in general. I am doing blood work in the next few days and will do it again in a few months to see the changes while consuming coconut oil in high doses. FYI I am a vegan on a high fruit/bean/veggie diet and avoid processed foods. There is a huge list of benefits listed on this website for those interested in looking.

  • Tammy Travis

    I have been reading that coconut oil increases your metabolish and improves thyroid function thereby helping with weightloss. Also improving cholesterol numbers. I read it was high in lairic acid and medium chain fatty acids. Would avocado fruit provide the same benefits?

  • Jerry

    Has anyone come across the work of Dr. Joel Wallach, pushing the belief that all diseases are a result of mineral deficiencies? Would appreciate any thoughts as friends are involved with a diet system prescribed by him and they’re now talking to me about it. I’m 60+, vegan and overweight. Thanks.

    • Thea

      Jerry: The nice thing about a claim that starts with “All” is that you only have to come up with one example to the contrary to disprove the statement. To my knowledge, the only diet proven to reverse heart disease is a whole food plant based diet. What would that have to do with “a mineral deficiency”? And heart disease is a big disease. It is the number one killer in America.
      I have some tips that might help with being vegan and losing weight. It is a bigger post, so I would post it separately if you are interested. Just let me know.

  • Steve Graham

    I am a wfbp believer and follower. In fact, oils are completely off my diet (I feel the difference when they are added – and don’t want the fats in my diet). However, I am seeing what looks like legitimate studies emerging that draw marked differences between coconut oil and other more common oils and other sources of saturated fat. I don’t have an agenda here, but this is raising my curiosity.

    I read the study summary for the coconut oil and safflower oil vs butter study referenced in the video. The conclusion is different than Dr Greger’s.

    These data suggest that cholesterol synthesis is lower during diets rich in coconut fat and safflower oil compared with diets rich in butter and might be associated with lower production rates of apoB-containing lipoproteins. ”

    What they don’t address, is a comparison to a diet which does not contain these added oils at all. That is a clear shortcoming. But this conclusion is different than Dr Greger’s. Watching the video, I had assumed this was the source of Dr Greger’s conclusion.