I have been seeing a lot of coconut oil marketing going on lately, though, my understanding has always been that coconut oil is full of saturated fat and should be used sparingly, if not avoided altogether.

This article, Coconut Oil: Friend or Foe?, provides a good discussion on the pros and cons of using coconut oil.

The bottom line is coconut oil has a somewhat unusual effect of raising HDL (good cholesterol), while at the same time raising the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). Many have attributed this effect to the medium-chain fatty acid, lauric acid.

Overall, coconut oil can’t be regarded as a more healthful option than the vegetable oils such as olive oil. It may be fun to incorporate it into your next recipe though, given its exotic flavor profile. For inspiration, check out this article on the New York Times online.