The Truth About Coconut Oil

Say no to hype and yes to moderation.

Chana Davis, PhD
5 min readJan 14, 2021


Photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

It’s time to face the truth about coconut oil.

Yes, it’s delicious and versatile. No, it’s NOT a miracle food.

It will not melt your fat, rev your metabolism, cure your diabetes, or rid you of inflammation. In fact, excess consumption of coconut oil may be a heart health liability.

Let’s take a look at what the latest research says about both sides of the coin — benefits and risks.

Does consuming coconut oil offer health benefits?

Photo by Nipanan Lifestyle on Unsplash

In short, the evidence for any health benefits of eating coconut oil is… extremely shaky.

A 2019 review of coconut oil and health claims found that the evidence was “inconsistent. There are some positive studies, but they they tend to be low quality. There are also plenty of studies that fail to show any benefits. This mosaic of evidence strongly suggests a biased presentation of results skewed for the purposes of marketing. The authors conclude the following:

To this present day, there is not enough scientific evidence to support the health benefits used by CO brands to promote their product. This kind of promotion should not be used, once it misleads the perception of the consumers. de Silva et al, 2019

Another recent research review reinforces the message that evidence is lacking for many claims, from bone loss, to glycemic control, to Alzheimer’s disease and that such claims would require more rigorous studies to be taken seriously.

“Human clinical and observational studies are needed to confirm many claims on coconut oil products, which are largely based on animal and/or in vitro studies or studies of purified medium-chain fatty acids.” Wallace, 2019

Okay, so we shouldn’t be slathering our food in coconut oil hoping for a health transformation. Could it be that coconut oil is actually doing more harm than good?

Is coconut oil a health hazard?



Chana Davis, PhD

Scientist (PhD Genetics @Stanford) * Mother * Passionate about science-based healthy choices * Lifelong learner * Founder: Fueled by Science