Coconut Oil Not As Healthy As Many Thought For People With High Cholesterol

My patient read an article on coconut oil today that said coconut oil may not be as healthy as you think and asked me what I thought.

My take: Yes, we've always known coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Some early data suggests that saturated fat may be good for the brain and preventing cognitive impairment for those at risk.

But for those patients with high cholesterol, especially high LDL, they should be mindful. 1-2 tsp /day of coconut oil should be fine, although I would recommend checking a cholesterol panel after 3 mo to make sure you're not having a negative impact on cholesterol. (I have had 1 patient who was really into eating coconut oil everyday and her LDL went up to over 200. It came back down when she cut back on coconut oil).

Also for those who are trying to lose weight, coconut oil is high in calories. The plus side is it can help you feel more full but it does have a lot of calories. So it's a balance. A little is good. Too much is too much. And what's too much depends on the individual.

For my patient with a borderline LDL who was trying to lose weight, I told her to limit coconut oil diet. 1 tsp/ day in smoothie is likely fine and may help her feel more full longer. I'd also check her cholesterol panel again to see how her individual body responds.

Medicine isn't one size fits all. This is what individualized and personalized medicine is all about. 
Dr. Alex Zaphiris

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