Are We Going Nuts on Coconut Oil?
- 1.2k Downloads
Purpose of Review
Sales and consumption of coconut oil have been on the raise due to effective marketing strategies. Coconut oil is stated to offer various benefits including weight loss, improvement in immunity, heart health support, and memory enhancement. Also, it is often portrayed as an excellent source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Here, we review the evidence behind the clinical utility of coconut oil consumption.
Several studies consistently showed consumption of coconut oil increases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and thereby could increase adverse cardiovascular health. Even though coconut oil has relatively high MCT concentration, the clinical benefits of commercial MCT oils cannot be generalized to coconut oil.
Until the long-term effects of coconut oil on cardiovascular health are clearly established, coconut oil should be considered as a saturated fat and its consumption should not exceed the USDA’s daily recommendation (less than 10% of total calorie intake).
KeywordsVirgin coconut oil Coconuts Lauric acid MCTs Ketogenic diets LDL-C
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Senthilkumar Sankararaman is supported by a sponsored fellowship program with the Nestlé Nutrition Institute. Thomas J. Sferra declares that he has no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major Importance
- 1.Available from: https://www.doctoroz.com/videos/coconut-oil-super-powers-pt-1 Accessed on March 24 2018
- 3.•• Eyres L, Eyres MF, Chisholm A, Brown RC. Coconut oil consumption and cardiovascular risk factors in humans. Nutr Rev. 2016;74(4):267–80. A systematic review of several trials demonstrating the effects of coconut oil consumption on cardiovascular risk factors. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
- 4.Bawalan DD, Chapman KR. Virgin Coconut Oil: Production Manual for Micro- and Village-Scale Production. Food and Agriculture Organization; 2006. Available from: http://www.fao.org/publications/card/en/c/bfbb8a43-fd11-4ff8-8d55-56a81f2ecb23. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 5.•• Sacks FM, Lichtenstein AH, Wu JHY, Appel LJ, Creager MA, Kris-Etherton PM, et al. Dietary fats and cardiovascular disease: a presidential advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017;136(3):e1–23. A presidential advisory from the American Heart Association that elaborates the effects of various dietary fats on the cardiovascular disease. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 6.Available from: https://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-matters-magazine/nutrition/ask-the-expert/coconut-oil. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 7.Available from: https://www.heartfoundation.org.au/healthy-eating/food-and-nutrition/fats-and-cholesterol/replace-unhealthy-fats-with-healthy-fats. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 8.Available from: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/pdfs/scientific-report-of-the-2015-dietary-guidelines-advisory-committee.pdf. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 9.Available from: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 10.Available from: http://www.centrafoods.com/blog/supply-and-demand-in-the-coconut-oil-market-market-update. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 11.Available from: http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/launches-of-coconut-water-quintuple-over-the-past-five-years. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 12.Available from: http://www.mintel.com/blog/food-market-news/coconut-sugar-germanys-next-trendy-sugar-alternative. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 13.Available from: https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/top-10-celebrities-who-use-virgin-coconut-oil. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 14.Available from: http://news.abs-cbn.com/sports/02/10/18/winter-olympics-topless-tongans-secret-weapon-vs-freezing-cold-coconut-oil. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 15.Available from: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/05/upshot/is-sushi-healthy-what-about-granola-where-americans-and-nutritionists-disagree.html?_r=0Y. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 20.Available from: https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 22.Dayrit FM. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride. Philipp J Sci. 2014;143(2):157–66.Google Scholar
- 32.Mensink RP. Effects of saturated fatty acids on serum lipids and lipoproteins: a systematic review and regression analysis. World Health Organization; 2016. Available from: http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/nutrientrequirements/sfa_systematic_review/en. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 33.Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/coconut-oil. Accessed on March 24 2018.
- 36.de Souza RJ, Mente A, Maroleanu A, Cozma AI, Ha V, Kishibe T, Uleryk E, Budylowski P, Schünemann H, Beyene J, Anand SS Intake of saturated and trans unsaturated fatty acids and risk of all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ. 2015;351:h3978.Google Scholar
- 37.Eckel RH, Jakicic JM, Ard JD, De Jesus JM, Houston Miller N, Hubbard VS, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC guideline on lifestyle management to reduce cardiovascular risk: a report of the American college of cardiology/American heart association task force on practice guidelines. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2014;63(25 PART B):2960–84.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 39.Lipoeto MMedSci NI, Agus Z, Oenzil F, Wahlqvist BMedSc ML, Wattanapenpaiboon N. Dietary intake and the risk of coronary heart disease among the coconut-consuming Minangkabau in West Sumatra, Indonesia. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(4):377–84.Google Scholar
- 42.Kumar PD. The role of coconut and coconut oil in coronary heart disease in Kerala, South India. Trop Dr. 1997;27(4):215–7.Google Scholar
- 52.Voon PT, Kock T, Ng W, Kar V, Lee M, Nesaretnam K. Diets high in palmitic acid ( 16 : 0 ), lauric and myristic acids ( 12 : 0 + 14 : 0 ), or oleic acid ( 18 : 1 ) do not alter postprandial or fasting plasma homocysteine and inflammatory markers in healthy Malaysian adults 1 – 3. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011;94(February):1451–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 60.St-Onge M-PP, Jones PJH. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003;27(12):1565–71.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 62.Valente FX, Cândido FG, Lopes LL, Dias DM, Carvalho SDL, Pereira PF, et al. Effects of coconut oil consumption on energy metabolism, cardiometabolic risk markers, and appetitive responses in women with excess body fat. Eur J Nutr. 2018;57(4):1627–1637.Google Scholar
- 66.Naseem M, Khiyani MF, Nauman H, Zafar MS, Shah AH, Khalil HS. Oil pulling and importance of traditional medicine in oral health maintenance. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2017;11(4):65–70.Google Scholar
- 70.Available from: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oil-pulling. Accessed on March 24, 2018.
- 76.Yang H-T, Chen J-W, Rathod J, Jiang Y-Z, Tsai P-J, Hung Y-P, et al. Lauric acid is an inhibitor of Clostridium difficile growth in vitro and reduces inflammation in a mouse infection model. Front Microbiol. 2018;8(January):1–16.Google Scholar
- 82.Ogedengbe OO, Jegede AI, Onanuga IO, Offor U, Peter AI, Akang EN, et al. Adjuvant potential of virgin coconut oil extract on antiretroviral therapy-induced testicular toxicity: An ultrastructural study. Andrologia. 2018;50(3).Google Scholar