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Coconut Oil and Saturated Fats

Fats, Including Saturated Fats That Are Found
In Coconut Oil, Are Necessary for Good Health

Coconut oil does contain a large amount of saturated fat. Isn’t saturated fat bad for us?

Many of us, doctors and lay people alike, were taught that red meat and fat, and especially saturated fats, are to be avoided or at least drastically reduced in our diets today. And that would include the saturated fats contained in coconut oil.  We still hear that saturated fats cause all sorts of problems, including high cholesterol, heart disease and weight gain.

However, if you carefully study the research, you will see that it shows the opposite to be true. Saturated fat is a vital nutrient and is necessary for good health. In order for your body to properly use fat-soluble vitamins, you need to have the fat in your foods. Calcium, too, needs fats for proper absorption – that means that if you don’t have enough fat in your diet, your body will not be able to properly use calcium and the fat-soluble vitamins.

While we Americans have been lowering the amount of fat in our diets, especially saturated fats like animal meats, butter, lard, coconut oil and full-fat dairy products, not only have obesity rates skyrocketed, but heart disease rates have also increased. I’m going to rephrase that statement:  We eat fewer saturated fats now, but have higher rates of obesity and heart disease - so how could saturated fats be the culprit? 

A wealth of research points to the real culprit being vegetable oils, sugars (especially high-fructose corn syrup), and excessive refined grains like white bread and pasta (“bad carbs”) as a major cause of obesity, and to trans-fats, vegetable oils and vegetable shortening as a major cause of heart disease, NOT saturated fats like those found in coconut oil.

FACT: By 1950, butter consumption had dropped from 18 lbs per person per year to just over 10. (Butter contains high levels of saturated fats).

FACT: Heart disease caused probably no more than 10% of US deaths prior to the 1920’s. By the 1950’s it had risen to 30% or more.

According to Dr. Ron Rosedale,i when you eat lots of carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour products, your body converts them to sugar and then burns that sugar instead of burning fat. Saturated fats like the medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil and VCO act as a carrier for the “fat soluble” vitamins A, D, E and K. When the fat is removed from foods in our diet, many of these vitamins are also removed, and our absorption of these vitamins also goes way down.

Coconut Oil May Protect Liver

Coconut oil and virgin coconut oil (VCO) contain saturated fats that protect the liver from alcohol, drugs and other toxins.ii Saturated fats also support the immune system, which helps keep you from getting sick.iii Saturated fats like those found in butter fat and in coconut oil  are needed for correct bone development and in order to prevent osteoporosis. A high level of fat in the diet needs to be saturated in order for the body to properly utilize calcium.iv This means that a low-fat diet with plenty of calcium and/or calcium supplements is not necessarily going to prevent osteoporosis.

Hmm… Osteoporosis in this age of “saturated fats are bad for you” has become increasingly prevalent…

Saturated fats are necessary for proper functioning of all our cell membranes. They give our cells the firmness necessary to maintain structural integrity. All your cells and organs, especially the brain, need saturated fats in order to function properly.

Saturated and Other Fats To Avoid: Oxidized Meat, Eggs and Dairy

We are not recommending that you consume all saturated fats. Very high heat and oxygen can damage cholesterol and fats and the following foods can contribute to clogged arteries, according to the research we have done:

  • Foods fried in polyunsaturated vegetable oils, like most French fries & potato chips, chicken nuggets, egg rolls & donuts. (Almost all fried restaurant food is fried in vegetable oil today in America.)
  • Powdered milk, cheese & eggs - the process that turns these products into a powder damages the fats.
  • Cured meats, like hot dogs, pepperoni and most luncheon meats - the nitrates in these meats have been implicated in cancer as well.
  • Meat from beef and pork that were fed soybeans, corn and other grains - try to get some grass-fed / pastured meat instead of conventional meat.
  • Processed, hydrogenated coconut oil, VCO or any other oil, for that matter - when any oil is hydrogenated it changes the nature of the fat and creates trans fatty acids that are very detrimental to your health!

Other Fats to Avoid: (Most) Vegetable Oils

When farmers were looking for a cheap way to fatten their animals for market, they began using corn and soybean oils. However, they quickly discovered that in addition to fattening up their animals, they seemed to cause problems with the animals’ thyroid glands and they subsequently developed many health problems, including cancer. The fact that polyunsaturated oils encourage tumor growth is well known among researchers.  It’s also well known that consumption of vegetable oils depresses our immune system, so well known that vegetable oils have been used for intravenous injections to suppress immunity in organ transplant patients.

NOTE:  Some farmers also tried feeding their animals coconut oil, but that caused them to be too lean and to lose too much fat!

Now it’s people instead of animals that consume these vegetable oils, and the coconut oil that caused the animals to lose weight is unfortunately the type of fat that most people avoid! To further compound the problem, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils that are heated in cooking quickly form trans fatty acids. The Institute of Medicine has declared that trans-fatty acids are unsafe to consume at any level. Most restaurants use these vegetable oils for cooking, and hence consistently and abundantly produce food that is not healthy for us to eat. Saturated fats, on the other hand, like those contained in coconut oil, VCO and lard, are resistant to oxidation, and can safely be used to cook and sauté food with.

Tips For Identifying Nutritious Oils,
like Coconut Oil

Tip #1: Avoid most vegetable oils – this includes soybean, canola and corn oils.

Tip # 2: Stay away from all hydrogenated oils, and those products with trans-fatty acids. This includes most margarines and any coconut oil that has undergone the hydrogenation process, so check your labels carefully!

Tip #3: Look for organic, cold-pressed olive, nut and seed oils like sesame and almond oil. Use these oils in moderation, and make sure to buy them in small quantities so they won’t go rancid. Most of these, with the exception of perhaps olive and sesame oils, should not be used for cooking.

Tip #4: Look for extra-virgin olive oil that is cloudy and unrefined.

Coconut Oil Recipes


1 Often found in packaged foods like pancake, cake & muffin mixes, as well as macaroni & cheese, most soft serve ice cream and most skim & low fat milks.

i Ron Rosedale, M.D., “Insulin and It’s Metobolic Effects,” p. 6.
ii A.A. Nanji, et al., Gastroenterology 109/2 (August 1995): 547-554.
iii J.J. Kabara, “The Parmacological Effects of Lipids,” Champain, IL: The American Oil Chemists Society, 1978, pp 1-14.
iv Watkins, B.A. and Seifert, M.F. 1996 “Food Lipids and Bone Health.”
v Carrol, K.K. and Khan, H.T., 1971 “Lipids”. 6:415.
vi Mascioli, E.A., et al, 1987. “Lipids.” 22(6):421.

Coconut Oil:  A Good Saturated Fat!

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