A recent review on the health benefits of coconut oil finds:
- There is not one human trial to show coconut oil lowers cardiovascular disease risk, and
- Only 2 small human trials show coconut oil increases HDL (“good”) cholesterol, yet another 2 trials show no significant effect.
Now, compare this to:
- A 5 year trial of over 7 000 people shows adding 50mL extra-virgin olive oil to the diet daily lowers cardiovascular disease by 30%.
- A review of 8 long-term trials totalling over 13 000 people shows replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats (like sunflower, safflower and soybean oil) lowers heart disease by 19%, and
- A review of 60 human trials shows conclusively that replacing saturated fats with both polyunsaturated fats or monounsaturated fats (like canola and peanut oil) lowers cholesterol levels. There are at least 26 human studies showing this for canola oil alone.
Whilst a lack of evidence does not mean unhealthy, we should prioritise eating what we can confidently say is healthy.
There are many oils that fit this description. I’m not yet convinced coconut oil is one.