12 Unhealthy Side Effects of Coconut Oil You Should Know

When we talk about coconut oil, the first thing that comes to our mind is its health benefits. Coconut oil has so many health benefits that it’s used for almost everything. Many case studies prove that coconut oil possesses antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties; which helps with the smooth functioning of the kidney, nervous system and also protects the liver against deadly ailments. Some coconut oil products are also termed as “virgin” because some of them are unprocessed. Virgin coconut oil is usually not bleached, deodorised, or refined.

But just like its proven benefits, coconut oil also has some serious side effects that most of us don’t know about. First and foremost, as we know coconut oil is available in the market in two forms – virgin coconut oil, and the commercial coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is the unprocessed oil, which has more benefits and comes with almost no side effects. But the same is not the case with commercial coconut oil, which is used by most of us.

Coconut oil may be extremely healthy, in comparison to other oils available in the market, but it also has some serious side effects like an allergic reaction, which can get severe with time. So if you are using coconut oil for the first time, then you should ideally start with a small quantity to see if you have any reactions. And if you still don’t can identify the possible reactions, then here are some side effects of the commercial coconut oil that you must know.

12 Unhealthy Side Effects of Coconut Oil

1. Intestinal Distress:

As we know, coconut oil, if taken orally, helps fight germs and bacteria and other harmful organisms in our body. But this also has its share of short-term side effects. Well, consumption of coconut oil may also cause diarrhoea and other symptoms related to the intestine. This usually happens when someone has trouble absorbing fructose. Coconut oil does not contain fructose, but all other products made from coconut oil do have some amount of fructose in them. And if you suffer from any intestinal distress after consuming food containing coconut oil, you should immediately consult your doctor. To reduce the side effects, you should also consider consuming smaller amounts of coconut oil and avoid food made from coconut oil.

2. Allergies:

Coconut oil can cause allergies to people who are sensitive to it. Allergic reactions like nausea, rashes, eczema, and vomiting are caused by consumption of coconut oil. In fact, in some rare cases, one might even have lightheadedness and facial swellings. Coconut oil contains coconut diethanolamine, which as per studies, is an allergic substance to many; so if you are allergic to coconut oil, then you must avoid consumption of chocolates, cakes and popcorn. And if the allergies continue after stopping the intake of coconut oil and its products then visiting a doctor is a must. A report in Reuters states that coconut oil contains more bad fat than that in beef or butter.

3. Heart problems:

As we know coconut oil is higher in saturated fats, hence could also harm the heart. Pure virgin coconut oil contains around 92 per cent of saturated fat, which is the highest amount of saturated fat found in any oil. Another case study also states that coconut oil also increases bad cholesterol to a greater extent than unsaturated plant oils.

4. Allergic reactions in children:

Though coconut oil can be included in your child’s daily diet, there are some limitations to it too. Well, if your child is suffering from hypothyroidism- (an abnormally low activity of the thyroid gland), then you must refrain from using coconut oil or its products because the usage of oil might aggravate the condition and could cause some severe allergic reactions.

5. Headaches:

Coconut oil is often used for detoxification and is especially useful for yeast infections. And during detoxification, the medium-chain fatty acids in the coconut oil breaks down the infection, which causes yeast cells to release toxins into the bloodstream. This process often causes headaches and dizziness too.

6. Liver Damage:

The medium-chain fatty acids available in the coconut oil get transported to the liver, where they get converted into energy. And some reports state that this medium-chain fatty acid in the liver can cause a problem. They might put some pressure on the liver and even harm the organ in the long run. Hence, if you are suffering from some liver disease or diabetes, then avoiding coconut oil is a better option. And if you think that coconut oil is affecting you in any way, then going to your doctor without further delay is a must.

7. Pimples:

We often apply a pack of coconut oil and turmeric on our face to get rid of the pimples. However, things don’t work similarly with people who have an oily skin type. People with oily skin are prone to get more pimples or some other allergic reaction to the pimples, if they use coconut oil in the long run. Hence, people with oily skin texture should avoid using coconut oil.

8. Flu:

As we all know, coconut oil is used to flush out toxins from our body; however, this detoxification leads to the release of toxin residue in the blood. And after a few days, a person can get the flu because of this toxic residue. Hence, it is important to stop using the coconut oil at this time.

9. Weight gain:

Coconut oil is the only which contains the maximum amount of saturated fat. Hence daily consumption of coconut oil leads to weight gain.

10. Nausea:

Coconut oil is quite heavy for consumption, and when you consume too much coconut oil, you start feeling nauseated, which then leads to vomiting at times. So if you have this sensation while consuming coconut oil, then you should stop eating it.

11. Skin dryness:

One of another possible side effects of coconut oil is that it makes your skin dry and patchy. Application of coconut oil on your face on a regular basis leads to skin dryness and irritation because your pores are getting clogged; when your pores get clogged, your skin cannot breathe or hydrate sufficiently. This leads to dryness and irritation. Hence, applying coconut oil on alternate days is a better option. 

12. Excessive fats:

The major drawback of coconut oil is its saturated fat content. Yes, coconut oil has 11.8 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fat intake is one of the main dietary causes of high cholesterol. Not only this, another disadvantage to coconut oil consumption is its high caloric density. One gram of fat has nine calories. So, if you are consuming coconut oil on a regular basis, it means that you are eating more than twice the calories you could get from healthy foods like fruits, vegetables and lean meats.


Coconut oil is generally a healthy option, but one needs to know the pros and cons of the same. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume coconut oil in normal amounts. The risks of having larger amounts are unknown, hence sticking to the normal proportion is the only option. Coconut oil has many health benefits, but just like other food products, one must carefully analyse and research the pros and cons of this as well. Solely relying on its health benefits is not advisable.

Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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