How is coconut oil good for you when its 94% saturated fat?

Answered on December 18, 2013
Created December 18, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I bought a large-ish jar of extra virgin coconut oil after reading how wonderful it is for you. I checked the nutrition label, as I expected it is 100% fat but I was fairly horrified to see 94% saturates!

How can that be good?

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4 Answers



on December 18, 2013
at 06:18 PM

Just to say, I used coconut oil for skin care / hair for decades. When I first heard about it for cooking, it was some chef who recommended it as the best for high heat cooking due to its high smoke level (I'm not a chef, nor a scientist, correct my terminology but you know what I mean).

My question was 'really? You can EAT this?' If you think about it again, it's from coconuts, so yeah. It's edible. Ha! Oh, poor me.

When I'd been following the AIP for about a year and kept running across paleo articles and recipes (as they usually 'fit'), I tried cooking with it. For one thing: I love the taste! It's my only cooking oil apart from lard or suet.

That probably set you back, too. The links provided are good to start learning about its benefits. I wanted to share my 'history' of coconut oil because I'm not the only dullard. This week, I had this convo with a lady working at Trader Joe's who couldn't believe I use it to cook with because she uses it in her hair. Life is an experimenting and learning process. People who ask questions are cool.

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on December 18, 2013
at 04:10 PM

Do you need the calories? It's bad for you if you're eating it in excess and storing it.

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on December 18, 2013
at 04:05 PM

I guess we're used to people coming to this website with some semblance of a paleo background. Why would you buy it without knowing why it's good for you?

All scolding aside, the answer is that saturated fat is NOT bad for you. Particularly the medium chain triglycerides found in abundance in coconut oil.

Maybe, possibly, really huge quantities can ever so slightly increase risk of cardiovascular problems, but it's so negligible compared to the benefits of saturated fats. Conventional wisdom got it wrong again. We've all been taught wrong for 50 years. Our great grandparents knew damn well that lard, tallow, and cream were delightful and helped people grow strong and healthy. They didn't have the problems with heart disease we have today. You could spend hours or even days researching it yourself if you don't want to take people's word for it. You'll find lots of claims that saturated fat is bad without really good studies to back them up, and just a few claims to the contrary backed by good hard science. It takes a while to come to grips with it. The alternative is to get your blood lipid profile, study it, start eating a diet high in saturated fat, then get another blood test and compare the results. You'll be shocked.


on December 18, 2013
at 03:37 PM

I think your assumption that saturated fat is bad is based upon conventional wisdom. Check out this blog post by Mark Sisson:


This video clip from the documentary Fat Head might help also:


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