Is Coconut Oil the Healthiest Option? Online Dietitian Recommendations for Healthy Fats


Coconut oil has gained immense popularity in recent years and has become a staple in many households. It is often touted as a health food and has found its way into toothpaste as well. However, as with all dietary trends, coconut oil has also received some criticism. The American Heart Association recently published a study that sheds some light on the relationship between dietary fats and cardiovascular disease, and coconut oil doesn’t fare too well in this regard.

Before we jump to any conclusions about the health effects of coconut oil, let’s take a closer look at the different types of fats and where coconut oil fits in.

There are three main types of fats in our diets: the good, the not-so-good-but-really-tasty, and the bad.

Let’s start with the good fats. Monounsaturated fats, found in olive oil, peanut oils, avocados, nuts, and canola oil, are at the top of the list. Diets that are rich in monounsaturated fats can lower the risk of heart disease by controlling blood cholesterol levels. Research also suggests that these fats can help regulate insulin levels. The Mediterranean Diet is rich in these fats.

Next up are polyunsaturated fats, found in plant-based sources like sunflower, soybean, corn, sesame, and cottonseed oils, as well as omega-3 fats found in fish, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts. Like monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats can also help regulate blood cholesterol and insulin levels.

Moving on to the not-so-good-but-really-tasty fats. Saturated fats, which predominantly come from animal products like dairy, eggs, meat, and chicken, as well as cocoa butter, coconut, palm, and other tropical oils, can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems by raising blood cholesterol levels. However, our bodies need saturated fats for the construction of cell membranes, organ padding, and nerve sheaths, hormone production, cellular signaling, immune function, and proper absorption of some minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. This doesn’t mean we should go overboard with coconut oil, but a diet low in saturated fats is generally recommended for most people.

Lastly, we have bad fats. Trans fats, found in most processed foods, are harmful to our health and can increase the risk of chronic diseases by raising blood cholesterol levels and lowering good cholesterol.

Now, coming back to coconut oil. It is true that coconut oil is a saturated fat that should be consumed in moderation. Unfortunately, it has been erroneously touted as the latest health food by some, leading people to douse their foods in it over the past few years. However, replacing butter with coconut oil is like replacing bacon with… bacon – it’s virtually the same thing.

In conclusion, enjoy the tropical flavors of coconut oil, but do so in moderation. A DASH diet that is high in fruit and vegetables, mono and polyunsaturated fats, fresh fish, and low in red meat consumption is a great way to ensure a healthy and balanced diet.


Coconut Oil Granola (eat in moderation)


  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt


  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, shredded coconut, sliced almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in the honey or maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt.
  4. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir well to coat everything evenly.
  5. Spread the granola mixture in an even layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is golden brown and crisp.
  7. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool on the baking sheet
  8. Store the granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.This Coconut Oil Granola is a healthy and delicious snack option. It’s customizable too, so feel free to add or subtract ingredients to your liking!