Coconut oil consumption and bodyweight reduction: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Minerva Endocrinol (Torino). 2023 Mar;48(1):76-87. doi: 10.23736/S2724-6507.21.03654-X. Epub 2021 Nov 17.


Introduction: Due to the composition and biological properties of coconut oil, there is still considerable debate regarding potential benefits for the management of obesity, including the specific impact on body weight (BW) reduction. This systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trials aims to assess the impact of coconut oil on BW reduction in comparison to other oils and fats.

Evidence acquisition: The databases, PubMed®, Web of Science®, EMBASE®, and SciVerse Scopus® were systematically searched. A combination of medical subject headings and words linked to coconut oil and obesity parameters were utilized. Any clinical trials comparing coconut oil to any other form of oil or fat, with more than one month feeding period among adults were considered.

Evidence synthesis: From the 540 potentially relevant papers, 9 were included. The period of coconut oil intake varied from four to twelve weeks, apart from one long-term trial where coconut oil was consumed for two years. When compared to other oils and fats, coconut oil substantially decreased BW (N.=546), Body Mass Index (BMI) (N.=551), and percentage of fat mass (FM%) (N.=491) by 0.75 kg (P=0.04), 0.28 kg/m2 (P=0.03), and 0.35% (P=0.008), respectively. Coconut oil consumption did not result in any significant alteration in waist circumference (WC) (N.=385) (-0.61 cm; P=0.30), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) (N.=330) (-0.01; P=0.39) and FM (N.=86) (-0.25 kg; P=0.29).

Conclusions: Results indicate a small statistically significant reduction in BW, BMI, and FM% in the coconut oil group. In contrast, consumption of coconut oil had no statistically significant effect on WC, WHR, or FM.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Coconut Oil / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / drug therapy
  • Waist-Hip Ratio


  • Coconut Oil