Coconut oil sounds good, after all it is from coconuts which grow on these awesome tropical islands. And 72% of Americans, according to a recent poll, think the same.

Unfortunately, coconut oil is not at all that healthy. It raises LDL cholesterol or the bad boy of cholesterol, which increases the risk of heart attacks among other things.

As compared with other oils, coconut oil is about middle in terms of risk for cardiovascular disease. It is not as bad as say butter or other oils with trans fats, but certainly not as good as olive or canola oil.

Sure coconut oil raises good cholesterol (HDL) by increasing the amount of lauric acid. Yet this HDL increase is more than offset by the increase of LDL.

Some studies suggest that regular use of coconut oil might decrease belly fat, but even so the increase in LDL with regular consumption of coconut oil would not be advisable. Still other research mentions benefits of appetite reduction, elevated metabolism or ability to think more clearly. These studies are few and have few participants. In other words, more and better controlled studies are needed before these claims can be verified.

Finally, coconut oil contains lots of calories. In fact a tablespoon has a whopping 120 calories.

Bottom line try olive or canola oil instead.