Q. Are all saturated fats including coconut oil harmful for heart patients with plaque build up in arteries?

Answered by
Sumiya Sulthana
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on May 02, 2020

Hello doctor,

My husband has a heart condition that means his arteries build up a plaque at a much higher rate than normal. He had to have a stent put in his heart and will be medicated for the rest of his life. He has been told that it is vital he eats low fat and low cholesterol diet. I cook for him and I am worried whether I feed him the wrong things. I know that meat is not good for the heart, so we limit it and always go for lean cuts, but I am confused about the difference between animal-based saturated fats and plant-based saturated fats.

For example, everyone raves about the health benefits of coconut oil and coconut milk, but both are extremely high in saturated fat. I googled this and find reports stating that it is a different kind of saturated fat and does not affect the heart badly, but I do not know if this is true. For someone like my husband, is all saturated fat bad? Also, is chicken really healthier meat than beef? It seems to have a high cholesterol content so I do not know if he should be eating it. Any advice would be much appreciated.

He is currently Rosuvastatin, Bystolic, and Aspirin.



Welcome to

I understand your concern on the high-fat diet and follow the mentioned points below.

Just to make it easy, we need some fat which is good and HDL (high-density lipoprotein) like almonds and walnuts are good as these are rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Similarly, the fat we have in coconut oil is different. The fat in the chicken can be removed by removing the skin, where as beef has inbuilt fat which cannot be removed easily hence we suggest to include fish and chicken avoiding beef.

Considering fat, we miss out on other nutrients too, so it is advised to reduce the oil intake like healthy individuals can take half a liter of oil per month if you are two your cooking should be within 1 liter of oil only.

Coconut oil is having saturated fat but it burns easily in high humidity areas. If we live in high humidity area it is better to include coconut oil to protect our joints and skin. If we leave apart from high humidity area it is better to use refined oil.

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