Does Coconut Oil Have High Cholesterol

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 11/04/2023

Someone asked me if coconut oil’s cholesterol level is high.

My answer:


In fact, coconut oil has no cholesterol at all. None. Not LDL, not HDL, or any other kind you've been warned about.

Only animal-based foods have cholesterol, and coconut oil is, of course, plant-based.

Their next question: does coconut oil has saturated fats?

Yes, it does.

Then can coconut oil increase LDL cholesterol?


Which seems like terrible news, because LDL is often referred to as the bad cholesterol that will put you at risk for heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. But before you ditch coconut oil, check this out:

It also increases HDL - the good kind.

I can almost hear what you’re thinking:

“Okay, so give it to me straight, does coconut oil increase my chances of having a heart attack or getting heart disease?”

Absolutely not! Coconut oil won’t put your heart at risk in any way.

Here’s why.

In this article:

  1. Saturated Fats Aren’t A Dietary Demon

  2. The Saturated Fats In Coconut Oil

  3. Why You Should Be Consuming Coconut Oil

  4. Coconut Oil: No Cholesterol To Worry About, And It’s Good For You


Saturated Fats Aren’t A Dietary Demon

Happily, evidence-based dietary guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease are changing, in part because people have spoken up to insist medical professionals stop demonizing saturated fats.

Medical researchers and clinicians are slowly becoming aware of evidence that some saturated fatty acids aren’t harmful while some - such as coconut oil - are actually beneficial.

I’ve been saying for some time that we shouldn’t be using LDL cholesterol to measure your risk of heart disease. Instead, we should pay attention to markers for inflammation, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. They’re all well-known risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

Besides, if you avoid all saturated fats you’ll miss out on the incredible benefits of coconut oil.

Which would be a shame.

Does Coconut Milk Have High Cholesterol?

Coconut milk is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate food that has been used as a traditional remedy for many ailments. Coconut milk contains lauric acid, which has been shown to raise HDL (good) cholesterol levels and help prevent heart disease. Coconut milk also contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are a type of saturated fat that is metabolized differently than other types of fat. MCTs are absorbed and metabolized quickly, so they are a good source of energy for athletes and people who are trying to lose weight.

Some research suggests that coconut milk may help improve lipid profiles by reducing total cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. One study showed that coconut milk was able to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels in people with high cholesterol. Another study found that coconut milk was able to reduce triglyceride levels in people with diabetes.

Coconut milk is keto friendly and a good choice for people who are on a ketogenic diet or who have other restrictions on their diets.


The Saturated Fats In Coconut Oil

I’m going to get a little bit science-y here, so bear with me.

About 50 percent of the fatty acids in coconut oil are made up of what are called medium chain triglycerides or MCT for short.

As the name suggests, MCT oil contains medium-length chains of fats. Because the fat chains are shorter than long-chain triglycerides, MCTs are more easily digested. Their rapid absorption into your body means they’re quickly available for your body - including your brain - to use as fuel.

There are four types of MCTs: capronic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12). The ratio of MCTs in coconut is highly in favor of lauric acid (C12), giving it powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

Which brings me to the major health benefits of coconut oil.


Why You Should Be Consuming Coconut Oil

Because coconut oil contains a high percentage of MCTs and other healthy fats, it has a different effect on your health than most other fats in your diet. Its fats can boost fat burning and provide your body and brain with quick energy. They also raise the good HDL cholesterol in your blood, which is linked to reduced heart disease risk.

Though you've probably known for a long time that olive oil is a source of healthy fat - and it is - olive oil doesn't have the same wide range of benefits of coconut oil.

When you choose coconut oil, I recommend you use one labeled virgin coconut oil that's also organic. You want to use the highest quality oil for your health, especially because it's absorbed so rapidly by your body as I explain below.

An Effective Energy Source

a young, energetic woman

When you eat the MCTs found in coconut oil, they go straight to the liver, where they are used as a quick source of energy or turned into ketones. Ketones are naturally produced when your body is using fat as its main energy source instead of sugar.

And how do you start ketone production? By eating a low-carb, high-fat diet like keto, and going through periods of intermittent fasting. Then your body no longer has a sufficient level of glucose available to fuel it. When this happens, your glycogen levels are depleted, your Fat Storing Hormone is lowered, and the body now needs an alternative source of energy; that is, fat.

Fat has been found to be a much more effective and efficient energy source for the body than glucose.

But that's not all.

Good For Your Brain

Ketones can have powerful benefits for the brain and are being studied as a treatment for epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and other conditions. In Alzheimer's patients, there appears to be a reduced ability to use glucose for energy in certain parts of the brain. Thus, researchers have speculated that ketones can provide an alternative energy source for these malfunctioning brain cells and reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's.

Protects Against Pathogens

The fatty acids in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. For example, these substances have been shown to help kill the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus (a very dangerous pathogen) and the yeast Candida, a common source of yeast infections.

Can Help You Lose Fat

Coconut oil appears to be especially effective at reducing belly fat, which lodges in the abdominal cavity and around organs. This is the most dangerous fat of all and is highly associated with many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even Alzheimer.

a before and after photo of a man who has lost significant weight

Coconut Oil: No Cholesterol To Worry About, And It’s Good For You

After years of worrying about cholesterol and saturated fats in your diet, you might have felt like consuming coconut oil could be like a dietary deathtrap. You’d be happily eating it, only to clog up your arteries and risk an early demise.

But now you know better.

Now you know that not only does coconut oil have no cholesterol at all - its saturated fats can provide significant health benefits.

So go ahead and eat it.

Add coconut oil to a smoothie.

Make a delicious treat with it.

And know that while you consume coconut oil, you’re doing your body and your health a big favor.

Time to stock up!

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