The Facts about Coconut Oil

Nutrition & fitness / Sanitas Medical Center

The Facts about Coconut Oil

Helping with Weight Loss

Some weight loss programs tout coconut oil because it contains medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs. Advocates for MCTs claim it promotes weight loss, increases metabolism, and reduces belly bloat. However, the research is limited. These claims are based on few studies done with a small number of participants. So, at this time, more research is needed.

Controlling Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes causes the level of sugar in your blood to rise above the normal level. Animal studies suggest that coconut oil may be beneficial for managing blood sugar. However, findings in animal studies may not be the same for humans. If you have Type 2 diabetes, treat coconut oil like any other saturated fat and limit your intake by choosing foods that are higher in unsaturated fat.

Reversing Alzheimer's Disease

The link between brain health and coconut oil stems from the MCTs. Glucose, which your body gets from the foods you eat, is the main source of energy for the brain. Some researchers believe that the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease do not efficiently break down glucose for energy. Therefore, their brains need an alternative source of energy. One theory is that the MCTs found in coconut oil may be able to provide that backup energy source. While this sounds encouraging, at this point, research is minimal.

And, so?

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat. Diets high in saturated fat may raise cholesterol levels in the body, however not all increases in cholesterol is bad. Research shows that replacing saturated fats, such as coconut oil, with polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, is beneficial for overall health.


Many health claims are attached to coconut oil. While there are studies on several of these claims, more research is needed. Keep in mind it is a saturated fat, however maintaining a variety of different fats in your diet is important – both saturated and unsaturated fats.