Purpose of review: Sales and consumption of coconut oil have been on the raise due to effective marketing strategies. Coconut oil is stated to offer various benefits including weight loss, improvement in immunity, heart health support, and memory enhancement. Also, it is often portrayed as an excellent source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Here, we review the evidence behind the clinical utility of coconut oil consumption.
Recent findings: Several studies consistently showed consumption of coconut oil increases low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and thereby could increase adverse cardiovascular health. Even though coconut oil has relatively high MCT concentration, the clinical benefits of commercial MCT oils cannot be generalized to coconut oil. Until the long-term effects of coconut oil on cardiovascular health are clearly established, coconut oil should be considered as a saturated fat and its consumption should not exceed the USDA's daily recommendation (less than 10% of total calorie intake).
Keywords: Coconuts; Ketogenic diets; LDL-C; Lauric acid; MCTs; Virgin coconut oil.