I’ve heard coconut oil is good for you. Is this true?
BHF dietitian Victoria Taylor says:
Coconut oil is about 86 per cent saturated fat, about one-third more saturated fat than butter (at 52 per cent). We know that diets high in saturated fat are associated with increased bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood, and high cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke.
There has been speculation that some of the saturated fat present in coconut oil may be better for us than other saturated fats, but so far there is not enough good-quality research to provide us with a definitive answer.
What we do know is that replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats like vegetable oil, olive oil and sunflower oil, and their spreads, has been shown as an effective way to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels, so this would be a healthier choice.
For the time being, if you like the taste of coconut oil, then, as with butter, it’s fine to use it every now and then. However, it’s best to restrict yourself to small amounts and use unsaturated oils as an everyday choice instead.
Meet the expert
Victoria Taylor is a registered dietitian with more than ten years’ experience. Her work for the NHS focused on weight management and community programmes for the prevention of cardiovascular disease. At the BHF she advises on diet and nutrition.