Coconut Oil: Not as Healthy as You Think

Coconut Oil is Just as Unhealthy as Butter and Beef Fat

Weight loss is a difficult process.  For many dieting is the worst part of it.  It requires commitment, self-discipline and planning. Some people require additional help through professional counseling and nutritional guidance.  Because dieting is so challenging, it’s tempting to get caught up in claims of magical health solutions and diet swaps that will make the pounds melt off. What’s worse is that many of these have no medical or scientific basis. Recently the American Heart Association advised that coconut oil is not a healthier replacement for butter or beef fat.  Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding discusses this finding.

The Myth of Coconut Oil as a Healthy Alternative

The supposed magical benefits of coconut oil have grown to mythic proportions on the internet. It first came into vogue as an alternative to vegetable oils in part because it is more stable. Between that and the chemical treatments necessary for canola, soy, and sunflower oils, coconut oil seemed more natural.  Health and wellness businesses thrive on this appeal to nature argument, regardless of whether there is real scientific basis to back it up. In the case of coconut oil, the data is finally in.

Coconut oil is no more healthy than butter or beef fat. Just like other saturated fats, coconut oil increases cholesterol.  In fact, it contains even more saturated fat than butter, beef fat and pork lard.  Saturated fat increases bad cholesterol.

Still, those who sell it claim that it can do everything from cure diabetes to whiten your teeth.  You should be skeptical of anyone offering to sell you a cure all. There is no such thing as a panacea.

Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding, NYU Langone Weight Management ProgramWeight Loss with Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding

If you need nutritional guidance or other weight loss advice, please contact the NYU Langone Weight Management Program.  Dr. Christine Ren-Fielding and colleagues are available to help you achieve your weight loss goals.  For information and appointments, call 212-263-3166 or email

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