Category: Nutrition

Coconut Oil - A Healthful Fat

Coconut Oil – Yes, A Healthy Choice

It’s clear that we have come full circle in our understanding of the role of dietary fat in human nutrition. For the past two decades, fat has been demonized and Western cultures were directed to an incredibly unhealthy approach to nutrition that favored carbohydrate rich foods while deleting healthful fats. This experiment, exposing humans to a diet unlike anything we have consumed for the past 2 million years, has proven disastrous.

Gratefully, science is now rectifying this situation by providing wonderful support for the recommendation to welcome fat back to the table. Coconut oil for example, one of the fundamental recommendations of the Grain Brain program is made up of 91% saturated (read: healthful) fat with research indication that it’s consumption is associated with improved cardiovascular parameters and a slimmer belly!

How intriguing it is that coconut oil has been used as a health tonic dating back to the Vedic texts from more than 3000 years ago. Yes – full circle indeed.

  • Hank

    I can’t get enough coconut oil! What’s your stance on limited use of coconut flour?

    • David Perlmutter

      Limited use is fine.

      • ri

        whats the best brand of coconut oil for consumption?thanks

      • Ken

        How come you are answering the question that Marianne had above on her intake of coconut oil and its effect on her blood work?

  • Lynn Dell

    Thank you for introducing me to coconut oil!

  • another Carroll

    It is definitely a learning process that not all coconut oils are created equal as in refined versus those that are not and taste varies among them too. Any tips on finding the best for our health?

    • agnostic

      Organic + Cold pressed coconut oil is the best.

      • Ginny

        I get the organic cold pressed coconut oil at Costco.

    • Hank

      Trader Joe’s has organic, virgin cold pressed for 5.99 can’t beat it!

  • Ginny

    I started putting one tablespoon of coconut flour in my protein smoothie along with 1 tbsp of coconut oil. I do this twice again. Is that considered a limited use of coconut flour?

    • David Perlmutter

      That seems to sound okay, depending how frequently consumed.

      • Larry

        Flaked, unsweetened coconut (in baking aisle at supermarket) . I like it as a snack and topping with nut butters.

  • Barbara Hickman

    While not the Anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, or anti-protozoal that coconut oil or palm kernl oil is (truly a miracle)…the Red Palm oil is also a very wonderful supplement full of Tocotrionols, CoQ10, carotenes, and tocopherols. Use the Coconut oil (2 TBLS 3-4 times a day with whole food) and started 1-2 TBLS of the Red Palm oil. Wonderful.

  • Eva

    I was told that coconut oil is not recommended if you suffer fom prostrate cancer.What is your view on that ?

  • Thomas Dillon

    how can I help my cystic fibrosis problem in the lungs and sinuses?

  • michael h

    on pages 191 and 224 of Grain Brain it says the daily dosages is 1Teaspoon. On the website it says 1-2 Tablespoon. Which is correct?

    • David Perlmutter

      1-2 Tablespoons.

  • Elisa

    Dear Dr Perlmutte, just to reiterate: eating coconut oil, butter and other types of high quality saturated fat should be in tandem with a reduction in carbohydrates, gluten and sugar- not in addition to….

    • David Perlmutter

      Yes! An important point. Not just what we are adding, but what we are taking away.

  • dee

    I am allergic to coconut and cow’s milk and recently had my gall bladder removed. What is a good alternative?

    • David Perlmutter

      Almond milk is a viable option.

  • DaB

    Dr Bruce Fife has published extensively on tropical oils, their qualities, uses, types and benefits. See the coconut research center dot org and his books for lots of info on these oils – including comparative info with commonly used oils, recipes, etc. He also documented how “artery clogging saturated fat” became mantra – thanks to marketing that ultimately had nothing to do with health.

  • Marianne

    After reading Grain Brain, I went gluten free and upped my coconut oil to 3 tbsp daily 3 months ago (I also eat lots of green leafy vegetables raw). I had a second lab test for blood sugar and cholesterol. Cholesterol went up 50 points from 3 months ago (263 with the cholesterol ratio at 3.24) and Hemoglobin A1C jumped to 6.3 (close to diabetic). I was totally surprised with such a clean diet and lots of good fats, very minimal carbs and good sources of protein and minimal sugar/fruits. The coconut oil must of jumped up my cholesterol (but also ratio went down) but WHY WOULD MY Hgb A1C also go up??? I never have been told I have high blood sugar and diabetes does not run in my family and I have never been overweight (exercise regularly). Any comments would be appreciated. :~)

    • Joy

      I, personally, could have written this post. This is about how my last blood work looked after following the same type of diet mentioned above. It has my Dr. concerned. I feel great. Praying that my January blood work shows more favorable. Would like a comment from Dr. P. on this one.

      • richard schwarz

        Same here. My A1C keeps steadily increasing though I am on a ketogenic diet with no carbs/sugar. I am thin, active and no family hx. I have been puzzled. The coconut oil maybe the culprit. I checked my post prandial glc with a glucometer yesterday and it was only 102 so I am thinking that coconut oil may produce spurious lab results? Maybe checking with a glucometer is more accurate? I have not been following my lipid panel. Am following the Wahl paleo plus diet. I am hoping Dr. Perlmutter will weigh in .

    • aleph Breacher

      Coconut contains a lot of glucose . the milk and the meat are very high on sugar , don’t know about the oil though . but a 6.3 A1C is not bad ???

  • kcscholar

    Dr. P: Two and a half weeks into “Grain Brain”, increasing good fats (including coconut oil) and veggies into my diet I began having inflammatory bumps on my scalp. They feel like sebaceous cysts and started on the sides of my head just above my ears and now has spread all over my scalp. None are outside of the hairline. Could this be detox or an allergy…or something else?

  • Paige

    Coconu oil is fine, how do you feel about raw coconut? I wasn’t sure if it was considered a high carb food.

  • Richard

    coconut oil – refined or not?

  • Gayle

    My husband was diagnosed with MCI/Early Alzheimers. Will coconut oil and a low carb diet help or is it too late?

  • Tom

    Could you please answer Richard’s question about refined or unrefined coconut oil? I don’t think you specify it in your book. I think it’s most likely unrefined that you are recommending, but many people use refined in cooking because it doesn’t have the strong coconut flavor. I think it’s important to distinguish that difference and whether or not it matters.

  • Melva

    I get my coconut oil at Costco … Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and it’s cold pressed. It’s tastes better and costs less than anywhere I’ve found it. And the label has a wealth of information on it. If that was the only product I bought at Costco, the savings on Coconut oil alone would pay for my annual membership .. but of course I shop at Costco for much much more! And I love Grain Brain. Can’t wait to get the cook book. Thanks Dr P!

  • John C

    Can coconut milk supply some of the oil requirements? Is Silk Coconut milk a good option (only one readily available in my area)?

  • Karen

    I haven’t read much about cocnut sugar . Is this a healthy alternative ?

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  • Lee Powell

    Dr. Perlmutter, do you need to measure your ketones to clear the epilepsy?

  • RicardoRichard

    I couldn`t agree more with what you and many others say about coconut oil. The problem is that it is rather bad for frying although nobody mentions it. Why? Have a look at its smoke point – the primordial characteristics of any fat / oil. It is only around 180 degrees C. Lard is 190 and, grapeseed oil is about 220. And curiously enough if it is refined it is much better (yes! for frying) contrary to what we might think (and nobody talks aout it). Rapeseed oil (unrefined) has its smoke point at a little over 100 degrees C, but little over 200 when it is refined. The best I think is avocado oil with 270 but it is rather expensive here in Europe. All those numbers are valid only for the first frying – then the respective numbers are lowered.

  • ron

    This is all so confusing. I see Dr. Esselstyn and Dr. McDougall say NO oil.

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  • Johanna K

    Dr. Perlmutter, what do you think of this article published on T. Colin Campbell’s website about coconut oil? http://nutritionstudies.org/coconut-oil-healthy-hazardous/

    No wonder people are lost about how to eat healthy when there is such an obvious divide within the medical/scientific community.

    My husband and I use coconut oil for almost all of our cooking. I was quite shocked to read this article by Matthew Lederman, MD.

  • Martin Clark

    Hi Dr Perlmutter. Is it ok to drink 1-2 glasses of coconut milk per day in addition to the teaspoon of coconut oil? Thanks for your inspiration

    • David Perlmutter

      Yes – obviously depending on the brand. Typically, 1 cup of coconut milk has just over 6 grams of carbs. Some brands add sugar so always read labels!

      • Martin Clark

        Thanks very much David

        • David Perlmutter

          Glad to be able to help.

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