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Coconut Oil Consumption Linked to Increased LDL

New evidence is cracking open some of the positive health claims made about coconut oil. Combining the findings from 16 published studies, investigators found that use of coconut oil was associated with increases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and total cholesterol levels, potentially placing people at higher risk for cardiovascular disease .

Compared to nontropical olive, soybean, or canola oil, high consumption of coconut oil substantially increased LDL cholesterol. Consuming 3 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil daily was associated with an estimated 10-mg/dL increase ― about a 9% jump ― in LDL levels. Coconut oil consists of about 90% saturated fat, which is higher than the proportion of saturated fat in butter or lard.

The systematic review and meta-analysis was published online January 13 in Circulation.