Coconut oil raises cholesterol levels, according to a meta-analysis published online in Circulation. Researchers examined 16 publications that assessed the effects of coconut oil consumption on blood lipids and heart disease risk factors. Consumption of coconut oil significantly raised total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol levels when compared to consumption of nontropical vegetable oils. Results also showed no benefit of coconut oil consumption on inflammation, blood sugar control, or weight. The authors attribute the detrimental effects on blood lipids to the high levels of saturated fat found in coconut oil and suggest limiting coconut oil intake. A commentary published in the same journal further recommends limiting coconut oil intake due to a possible increased risk for heart disease as a result of the increased LDL effect.
Neelakantan N, Seah JYH, van Dam RM. The Effect of Coconut Oil Consumption on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Clinical Trials. Circulation. Published online January 13, 2020.