This question has been asked by many after viewing the clip ' Coconut oil and other nutritional ERRORS' by Karen Michles. Her contention is that the saturated fat part is more than 80% when compared to the 63% in butter and 50% in animal fat.
Walter C Willet from Harvad school of Public health has mentioned that it is good for HDL or good cholesterol.
In this context, it is felt that generally oils high in saturated fat is not a good choice for protecting the heart. Coconut oil contains lauric acid that has a positive effect on the hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.
One should tailor the needs and intake of coconut oil. We should choose cold pressed coocunti oil rather than the refined commerical ones. The cold unrefined coconut oil has short and medium chain fatty acids that are useful to initiate weight loss.
One can try to use small amounts for cooking purposes and watch the cholesterol levels. If the total cholesterol and the bad cholesterol ( LDL type) increases, then it would better to cut down on the coconut oil. It would be a good practice to limit to use to around 15-30ml/day and not to forget to ingest other vegetable oils also that are beneficial ( instead on relying only on coconut oil).
In the Indian setting, it would be difficult to prove that the cholesterol levels have gone up only because of coconut oil because, there would other dietary sources that would be contributing to this also.
So, coconut oil is good, within limits and the volume consumed can be tailored down based on one's health, presence or absence of hypertension, coronary artery disease and hypercholesterolemia.