The benefits of using coconut oil has been hyped online, in the press and in diets with stories of its benefits for health. If you google coconut oil you will see it being touted for weight loss, antimicrobial effects, calorie burning, improving good cholesterol, reducing seizures, and boosting brain function in Alzheimers.
This shows just how misled the public can be with fads and brilliant marketing by the industry. The coconut oil and related industries have been very successful in calling coconut oil a natural, healthful product. Their marketing worked! The New York Times commissioned a survey in 2016 that showed 72% of the public said coconut oil is a healthful food. Actually studies from as far back as 1955 show coconut oil is not a heart healthy oil. And here is more evidence based truth:
Clinical trials(Reported in JAMA, April 8, 2020) showed that coconut oil, compared to other vegetable oils, increases low density lipoprotein cholesterol. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) are the bad parts of the molecule that increase cardiovascular risk. Many other studies in the past have shown the same outcome, but somehow the public is not getting the message. Coconut oil in the diet offered no improvement to weight, blood glucose or inflammation markers.
Much of the coconut oil marketing and allure relates to misconceptions about lauric acid, a saturated fatty acid that makes up about half of coconut oil's fatty acid content. Proponents of coconut oil argue that as a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), it bypasses the liver and can be used for energy production rather than getting into the liver and affecting cholesterol synthesis. But that is not how lauric acid works and it is absorbed in the gut and goes into the liver.
So what does all of this mean? Simply said, coconut oil is not a healthy oil, it is high in saturated fats and using it will increase cardiovascular disease risk.
Coconut oil is fine for removing makeup and conditioning your hair. Coconut water does not have fats and studies show it is equivalent to water in rehydration and performance of athletes. It won't hurt or help you.