Myth: Coconut oil is a heart-healthy cooking alternative.
The argument: Coconut oil is extremely high in saturated fat — about 50 percent more than butter, even. But despite that saturated fat is known to raise cholesterol levels, linked with heart disease risk, proponents believe that some saturated fats in coconut oil (called medium-chain triglycerides) are less harmful and may actually raise levels of beneficial HDL cholesterol.
The reality: Coconut oil has been shown to raise cholesterol levels — the good and the bad kinds — more than other plant-based oils like olive or canola. And in truth, medium-chain triglycerides make up only a small amount of the fatty acids in coconut oil.
Plus, while other heart-healthy fats like olive oil, canola oil, or omega-3 fatty acids in nuts and seafood have been supported by a large body of evidence, coconut oil’s supposed benefits still haven’t been proved in large-scale human research.