Coconut Oil and the Boost in HDL “Good” Cholesterol

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , /

[Music] we’ve known for nearly a half century according to 200 of the country’s leading experts in cardiovascular diseases in our report representing 29 national medical organizations including the American Heart Association American College of Cardiology that coconut oil is one of the most potent agents for elevating the level of cholesterol in the blood studies showing coconut oil elevates cholesterol date back to 1955 and it was first shown experimentally that switching someone from coconut oil to something like soybean oil could drop cholesterol from like 200 down to 150 coconut oil can significantly raise cholesterol levels within hours of consumption a significantly increased blood cholesterol within hours of eating a slice of cake made from coconut oil or from cod liver oil for that matter mmm but not from the same cake made from flax seed oil coconut oil may even be worse than tallow or beef fat but not as bad as butter the latest interventional trial was published marched 2017 a month-long randomized controlled crossover study looking at the impact of two tablespoons a day of virgin coconut oil and it elevated cholesterol about 14 percent over control consistent with the other seven interventional trials published to date in this 2016 review but wait saturated fats can make so-called good cholesterol HDL go up so what’s the problem the problem is that doesn’t seem to help having a high blood HDL level is no longer regarded as protective 1 but wait a second higher HDL is clearly associated with lower risk of heart disease in fact HDL levels are among the most consistent and robust predictors of cardiovascular disease risk ah but see there are two types of risk factors causal and non causal Association does not mean causation meaning that just because two things are tightly linked doesn’t mean one causes the other let me give you an example I bet that the number of ashtrays someone owns is an excellent predictor of lung cancer risk I bet study after study would show that link but that doesn’t mean that if you intervene and lower the number of ashtrays their lung cancer risk would drop because it’s not the ashtrays that were causing the cancer it was the smoking the ashtrays were just a marker of smoking an indicator of smoking as opposed to playing a causal role in the disease so just like having a high number of running shoes and gym shorts might predict a lower risk of heart attack having a high HDL predicts a lower risk of heart attack but raising HDL just like raising the number of gym shorts wouldn’t necessarily effect disease risk how do you differentiate between causal and non-causal risk factors you put it to the test the reason we know LDL cholesterol really is bad is because people were just born with genetically low LDL end up having at low risk of heart disease and if you intervene and actively lower people’s LDL through diet or drugs their heart disease risk drops not so with HDL people live their whole lives with high HDL levels don’t appear to have a lower risk of heart attack and if you give people a drug that increases their HDL it doesn’t work that’s why we used to give people high-dose niacin to raise their HDL but it’s time to face the facts the lack of benefit raising HDL seriously undermines the concept of HDL being a causal risk factor in simple terms high HDL may not protect the heart we should concentrate on lowering LDL and so pacifically as this relates to coconut oil the increase in HDL is of uncertain clinical significance but the increase in LDL cholesterol you get from eating coconut oil would be expected to have an adverse effect on a thirst karate cardiovascular disease risk but what about the MCTS proponents of coconut oil who lamented this whole coconut oil causes heart disease thing has created this bad image for their national exports assert that the medium chain triglycerides the shorter saturated fats found in coconut oil aren’t as bad as the longer chain saturated fats in meat and dairy and what about that study that purported to show low rates of heart disease among Pacific Islanders who ate tons of coconuts I’ll cover both these topics next [Music] you

100 thoughts on “Coconut Oil and the Boost in HDL “Good” Cholesterol

  1. The only reason I still use coconut oil is because it's heat-resistant. So I like to use it for roasting potatoes and such, even then I use like half a teaspoon per meal. Just enough so stuff doesn't stick to my pan.

  2. Well this is good to know. I have low HDL but I'm interested in DHA? I've been supplementing with vegan omegas.

  3. what baffels me is our this dumbass vegan crowd thinks natural oil and fats are bad LOL your body need this for your hormones u morons

  4. Advocates of coconut oil claim that the reason coconut oil was deadly in the older studies, was bc the oil being studied, wasn't the " healthy" extra virgin, but a hydrogenated form (which everyone knows is bad), that used hexane rather than cold pressed mechanical extraction. Also that it was the soybean industry trying to edge out the coconut oil industry. But I see in one of the studies here, they used virgin coconut oil, and got a 14%? rise in LDL? Gotta go back and check that number. Interesting. Guess we'll have to wait for the next episode!

  5. Been watching a Dr. Aseem Malhotra, famous for saying things like cholesterol isn't a problem, and neither is saturated fat. He lists tons of studies (most recently some Harvard review of past studies) and says that the number one predictor of heart disease is insulin resistance. Dr. Mercola shares his views that saturated fat isn't a big problem. And concerning the LDL research, he says that saturated fat tends to raise friendly LDL (the big puffy type), as opposed to sugar and processed carbs that raise a more harmful form of LDL (the small particle type). I also heard years ago that the research on coconut oil was suspect, and paid for by the soybean industry, which wanted to destroy the market for it. What's true? Is there a good LDL and a bad LDL, and is there any research separating the two, and is LDL really that strong a predictor of heart disease? Finally, Aseem also talks about how high LDL over the age of 60 has been shown in his research to not be a risk factor for heart disease at all … in fact, mortality risk from all causes (if I remember correctly) as LDL goes up over the age of 60. So, there are a lot of obviously sincere and concerned physicians (pointing to actual research) that downplay the importance of cholesterol and saturated fat when considering heart disease … Gabriel Cousens, Aseem Malhotra, and Mercola etc. It seems obvious that some doctors are discounting the relevance of certain studies, perhaps for reasons like who paid for them. Interesting stuff … just wish I knew who to believe.

  6. Coconut oil healed a cuticle infection that otherwise some would treat with antibiotics. I love coconut oil. I also take it occasionally internally to treating any infections. It heals the teeth and gums if used as oil pulling in the mouth. I don't injest it alot or on a regular basis because my family has a history and hereditary of high cholesterol not connected to diet.

  7. There are so many factors that can affect one's level of cholesterol day-in & day-out (including body posture!) that it seems unreliable to use a single blood test as the indicator for one's ASCVD risk –
    Wouldn't high blood pressure be a more definitive predictor for ASCVD risk? Especially since blood pressure can be easily monitored daily and throughout the day, unlike cholesterol levels.


    The bad: This food is high in Saturated Fat, and a large portion of the calories in this food come from sugars.

    Do you really know what's going on?

  9. Hah, something to show my doctors who say "yes, it's great that your LDL and total cholesterol are so low but your HDL is also too low".

  10. I tired to pass this information on, and oh man, the blowback, immeasurable. Every wanna be nutritional expert, mostly chiropractors, had a rebuttal. And the coconut oil worshippers, don't try telling them.

  11. Dr. G, How about coconut oil only used on the surface of the skin? I enjoy it as an alternative to chemical laden lotion.

  12. The new series will be on coconut oil I guess. Great information as many vegans still see coconut oil as a health food which is concerning.

  13. How do I get my hdl higher? my hdl is 43 and ldl is 38. triglycerides is 60 and cholesterol 93 (I saw the video though) dr.gregor said it may not protect the heart but I want to know if there is a vegan way to increase hdl

  14. I've been waiting for this subject. Thank you Dr Greger, I hope you cover if whole coconut meal, with fibre intact, has a different affect than just the oil.

  15. so basically it sounds like we should get prescribed to statin drugs since that is guaranteed to lower LDL, if that is the only important thing. the overweight, inactive people I work with at the office who eat all the shit they want while on statins had it right all along, eh? well damn. . . .

  16. I've been a fan for the past year but sometimes your conclusions feel somewhat incomplete and leaves me confused about the truth rather than enlightened.

  17. I joke I chug a gallon of olive oil daily because olive oil is in the Mediterranean diet, that means it's good for you. Right?

  18. Caldwell Esselstyn, cardiologist says: NO OIL. It's a big change for a lot of people but there are plenty of perfectly fine foods edible, delicious and fully satiating without oil. Oil is one of the few reasons vegans even have heart attacks. I haven't eaten a drop of isolated oil for 14 weeks. There is oil in most vegetables.

  19. I used to watch Dr Greger and followed almost everything he said. I avoided oils and fried my veggies with water. I even stopped using olive oil. I ate mostly raw. Till i found out about the keto diet and started watching some of the doctors who promote the keto diet.

    So, for the past month i've been using the keto diet. I started using butter, coconut oil, cheese, i eat eggs, meat sometimes, and i avoid high carb foods and anything with sugar. I eat much less fruits now. What a difference! I never felt so great in my life. No more brain fog, no need for afternoon naps, i'm always full of energy and feeling great, not to mention that my body and my mind feel like their breathing. In fact, i don't need as much sleep as before. My girlfriend who is a vegan also started doing the keto (no meat for her though) and she too feels the difference.

    I now have a different opinion about Dr Greger. He's ignoring other facts.

  20. this is all not logical. there is no harm in any clod press natural fat like olive oil or coconut oil, this is just crazy plant based extremes talking like that

  21. It would be interesting to see how many of these research articles presented control for genomic variability (for example, some with severe seizures benefit from a high fat ketogenic diet or some with Metabolic Syndrome benefit from a high fat low carb diet). Any subset of a population continuum may become statistically irrelevant with statistical averaging if looking at a "normal distribution." . Controlling for Population variability would make the research much tighter and more real world realistic. Simply said, "Your mileage may vary!"

  22. Keep it up Dr Greger, those uncomfortable facts gained by thorough research are what we as adults need to hear, and also the good news about delicious whole food. No science is final, it's ongoing discoveries are what we bravely need to face. As a very unscientific aside, isn't it fascinating how the structure of foods themselves often reveals the amount we need of them e.g.coconuts are very high up in trees, with a very hard shell, and the mature whole coconut meat is very very chewy indeed, so a human would use a lot of effort and energy obtaining the amount of coconut fat that many people currently use on a daily basis. So if I was listening to nature I'd say it was suggesting that coconut meat is a rare treat.

  23. Thanks doctor. Stopped eating coconut oil 5 years ago (actually all types of oils) and I am still alive and well today with cholesterol at 114mg/dl…. How remarkable that I am not dead…. we need oils?? We do not.

  24. What do you mean, next? Don't leave me on a cliff-hanger like that. I bet Greger has patient come in to his office and he's like,"Well, you cancer screening is in AND, I'll let you know on your next visit.

  25. What's the difference between you and Dr Ancel Keys? None, both picking and choosing based on what they want to show people, no real science , to date there is no single conclusive study can show the relationship between cholesterol and heart disease.

  26. Lol, I don't even need to read the comments to know it's probably littered with "first my rice and now my coconut oil?!? F U."

  27. Can you please make a video on MOLD MYCOTOXINS in high moldy foods including beans, peanuts, corn, dried fruits, apple cider vinegar, coffee? They cause inflammation and disrupt the immune system. I want to eat more beans for the potassium and cholesterol lowering benefits but they are on the top of the list for moldy foods. I am wanting to know if the mold can be washed off of beans. Thank you.

  28. A study saying that cholesterol increases when eating coconut milk with an egg means absolutely nothing to the true affects of coconut milk on cholesterol! I seriously question your thought process when science proves eggs increases cholesterol on their own. Very misleading Dr. Greogor!!!!!

  29. So true! My husband and I thought coconut oil was great until we saw the increases in our ldl and hdl cholesterol levels. We cut out the coconut oil and now our total cholesterol on a wfpb diet is less than 150!!

  30. Doesn't niacin lower cardio vascular disease risk?

    I have a minor dispute with your point about niacin while citing the study "Niacin and HDL cholesterol — Time To Face Facts" ( While it stands that the study supports the main topic of the video that using drugs to increase HDL or adding HDL to your diet does not decrease the rate of cardiovascular disease (CVD) I want to bring to your attention to a sub point. The study you are using to illustrate this idea may lead some viewers to falsely assume that niacin does not reduce incidences of CVD.

    Niacin appears to have substantial evidence that it does indeed lower CVD risks. The paper you cite at the end uses niacin in combination with an anti-flushing agent which may mitigate the positive effects of niacin. In this meta-analysis it states "In primary analysis, niacin significantly reduced major coronary events (relative odds reduction = 25%, 95% CI 13, 35), stroke (26%, 95% CI = 8, 41) and any cardiovascular events (27%, 95% CI = 15, 37). "

    Those are some pretty impressive numbers to just sweep under the rug.

    This indicates that niacin may be manipulating the causative lever that exercise and diet is also pulling. This would mean that the improved levels of HDL and LDL are actually reflective of improved health, rather than being artificially bumped up. While the combination of the anti-flushing drug and niacin are just manipulating HDL alone. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on what you think this lever is? Improved human growth hormone for instance is another interesting parameter that niacin improves.

    I know you are using the "Niacin and HDL cholesterol — Time To Face Facts" study to illustrate a different point but I wanted to point out this sub topic about niacin. If the conclusions of the niacin meta-analysis I've referenced are in dispute, I would love to see some studies with apposing views. Thank you.

  31. Seriously; how can you say high cholesterol is main cause of heart disease? The real cause is triglycerides / HDL ratio. Meaning its all about sugar metabolism. 75% of cholesterol is created by your own body, 25% only from diet.

  32. with all due respect to dr greger, this meta-analysis from 2010 is more conclusive evidence that saturated fats in themselves DO NOT contribute to cardiovascular disease. (A meta-analysis which pooled data from 21 studies and included nearly 348,000 adults, found no difference in the risks of heart disease and stroke between people with the lowest and highest intakes of saturated fat.)

  33. you idiots. coconut oil has been out of the American diet for almost fifty years like you said,and Americans have the highest Heart Attack rates in the world . so where the point.

  34. well what about this

  35. Almost everything is contradicting with that we are told and what this channel says. Now I think is that the moderation is the key and still we all are gonna die.

  36. Typical. Blame the firefighter instead of the fire. If his evil New York voice doesn't turn you off then his ignorant propaganda will.

  37. I ate alot of coconut oil thinking that it was good, until my heart attack. After 2 months just eating whole plant based food my LDL dropped from 4.7 to I.2. Yes I eliminated coconut oil and any other oils.

  38. Fuck coconut oil. This is why. My cholesterol panel was pretty dang good. Cholesterol 168. HDL and LDL in good ranges. All I changed in my diet was eating popcorn popped in a tablespoon of coconut oil every day. New cholesterol number was 236.

    Again, fuck coconut oil.

  39. Daft and antiquated! C'mon, this is 2018. Yes coconut oil will increase your LDL, but what does it do to your triglycerides? What does it do to your VLDL? Don't get fixated on LDL, think particle size of LDL. For the records, coconut oil decreases triglycerides, and VLDL and increases HDL. Your LDL might increase, but you are getting the big, fluffy LDL particles which is at worst neutral for heart health. Surprised people are buying what you're spewing here.

  40. interesting points ,if anyone else wants to uncover benefits of eating healthy try Covert Health Scheme ( search on google ) ? Ive heard some incredible things about it and my partner got great success with it.

  41. Could you focus more on Total cholesterol – HDL ratio and triglycerides – HDL ratio? Both these ratios, especially the last one, are a good indicator of how much small dense LDL C there is in your blood.

    sd-LDL is the real "bad" cholesterol. It's "old" cholesterol, that goes where it shouldn't.

    LDL is just a vessel to transport fat and fat soluble vitamins through the body. On a high carb diet you don't use fat for energy, so LDL will be low, there's little need for fat so as long as you don't eat too much fat, your LDL will be low. On a low carb high fat diet though, you'll need to transport lots of fat so LDL and HDL will be higher. But in that situation it's ok as long as the ratios are fine.

    The middle road,…. Like 50% carbs, 30% fat is a different situation. Here your HDL and LDL levels depend mostly on the quality of the food. Processed foods are going to make the numbers worse while more natural sources will improve them.

    That's also true on high carb and low carb diets ofcource, but these 2 extremes have the advantage that it's almost impossible to overeat.

  42. I think people are forgetting that this doesn't make coconut oil unhealthy lol. Too much sure, but this doesn't mean it doesn't have the health benefits that it's said to have.

    People who are stopping saturated fats that can raise LDL aren't doing themselves any favors by avoiding it altogether, if you're a young and healthy enough person that you don't NEED a strict diet, it's best to include some saturated fat, yes even from animals. The only people who should be stopping them, are people who have overdone them for YEARS and have no real choice but to. Sticking to reasonable amounts while you're young is the answer IMO.

    Also, taking lecithin daily could help keep your arteries clean, eggs have plenty of lecithin, I think it might be partly why so many eat 2+ eggs daily for a very long time and don't have heart problems. There are SO many dietary and lifestyle factors at play, I don't see any reason to worry about healthy amounts of coconut oil in a very healthy diet and lifestyle. And frankly, I'm not about to get THAT obsessed with my 'health', that I'd stop coconut oil along with ghee. Most of you would be better off eating one meal a day if you're really so concerned about your longevity, at least stop eating breakfast. Eating first thing in the morning isn't the most important meal of the day, the meal that breaks your fast regardless of timing is. A little ghee and coconut oil once a day isn't going to kill you, NOT doing intermittent fasting will take YEARS off your life with or without coconut oil. One meal, less daily calories then you'd have at 3 a day, but it still needs to be enough.

    I mostly do MCT oil though, that's a whole different story. I realize now when fasting I shouldn't have more than 1 teaspoon at a time, that and matcha green tea is going to be great, then I'll take Mega Hydrate, raw high-altitude shilajit, pink Himalayan salt, coral calcium, and magnesium. And I guess some herbal stuff would be okay fasting, but I've been taking in too much mornings for intermittent fasting, I don't quite do OMAD but an 8-hour window for eating, I need to gain some lean mass anyway, but every Friday I'm doing a 24+ hour fast for some great autophagy benefit. Then I'll work out Saturday, eat to gain lean mass Sunday, then I do manual labor(why I'd work out once per week) so during the week I just wanna maintain what I build, and lose what little fat I gain. Seems like a solid plan, I have a very solid diet figured out, I get lots from raw beef organs alone(bone marrow, liver/brain, and beef organs from Ancestral Supplements) and other supplements so I don't worry about anything other than macros and calories.

  43. Ok as per what I have learnt till now, basically inflammation is the real culprit. If inflammation is present or our own immune system is attacking insulin generating cells in pancreas, people get diabetes type-2 as their blood sugar absorption decreases in cells and blood sugar levels increase. Similarly, if inflammation is present or our own immune system is attacking walls of arteries, cholesterol is used by blood to clog the walls to prevent leakage. More the inflammation, more is the cholesterol deposition. HDL protein helps recycling good cholesterol while LDL protein takes most of good cholesterol and some bad cholesterol to body. Cholesterol plays as such essential component for our body cells. Clearly, cholesterol is not the issue. Now, there are many reasons behind inflammation, autoimmune conditions etc which can be due to malnutition, pathogens, toxins, high carbs consumption etc and so a diet that stops or prevents from this inflammation is required. And then, high HDL and LDL cholesterol levels in body won't be issue. Our body needs good fats which include olive oil, coconut oil and flaxseed oil, and proteins but not inflammation causing high carbs. Would be grateful to Dr. Greger if he tells the complete picture.

  44. Why does Greger spend his entire life making correlations look like causations and then go on to say "correlation is not causation" as soon as something comes up that he can't explain?

    You've got to accept that if what he's saying here makes sense, then the same could also be true for total or LDL cholesterol not being responsible for increased risk of heart disease

  45. Would love for Dr Gregor to comment on Dr Mary Newport’s research/ book : What if there were a cure for Alzheimer’s. I indeed regard and respect his science based comments. Dr Newport chronicles her experience with the use of coconut oil in her husbands journey with Alzheimer’s

  46. Okay so I’m completely lost and I seriously need some help. I’m vegan and have been for almost two years now. I have low cholesterol, the HDL thing and I was told that eating coconut oil will help. But what this sounds like is that it’s unhealthy and I shouldn’t eat it even though it will raise my levels? I’m confused on what to do. I’m not trying to start anything with anyone. I’m 19 and honestly don’t understand a lot of stuff about this. Please help!

  47. This is surprising on many levels to me. But I had thought it was odd when people were promoting coconut oil. I tried it for awhile and noticed that it gave me very loose stools and odd night sweats where I would wake up drenching in sweat. I gave up on it. Went back to olive oil.

  48. I'm surprised and disappointed that you, Dr. Greger, use studies that shouldn't be mentioned to prove a point, and in this case, that coconut oil is "detrimental" to our health. While it may be so, we still don't know, the "Effect of the fat composition of a single high-fat meal on inflammatory markers in healthy young women" (2011) study had a sample of 14 women, which you neglected to mention. Come on! One cannot state any conclusion with such a small sample. This study should not have been mentioned. And the same goes for "The Impact of Virgin Coconut Oil and High-Oleic Safflower Oil on Body Composition, Lipids, and Inflammatory Markers in Postmenopausal Women" (2017) study, which only had a sample of 12 women, which again you neglected to mention. I basically don't trust your judgement or videos any longer. These so-called studies are pilot studies at best. Where are the real studies? Medicine (and nutrition) that should be using the most scientifically rigorous measurement, evaluation and methodology tend to use bogus research practices and so-called doctors. This is shameful, disgusting and criminal.

  49. …..that’s so so not true Rising LDL is so not a indicator of risk of CVD’s not even part of diagnosis of metabolic syndrome .omg i thought this part is already well studied

  50. And those studies are 100% wrong. Who pays of who to come up with those results.
    Btter has been proven to lower LDL. If anything inthose studies were righ i would have been dead long ago.
    I add saturated fat to almost every meal
    I learned this from s man from Thailand 45 years ago. Butter is the best fuel for a long distance runner
    You can not beleive any studies

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