Products containing coconut, coconut oil and coconut milk are popping up everywhere, with marketers touting coconut as the latest superfood. But a recent warning letter from the US Food and Drug Administration cautions coconut boosters not to overreach. The FDA warned that coconut products cant be labeled as healthy if they contain more than 1 gram of saturated fat or more than 15% of calories come from saturated fat. Some have claimed that the saturated fat in coconut is different because its mostly lauric acid, which a few small studies suggest is metabolized differently than other saturated fats. But the FDA isnt buying that argument, noting that coconut products might contain as much as 16 grams of saturated fat per serving.
The agency also reminded makers of coconut products that it prohibits therapeutic claims for foods. Such claims for coconut have included antiviral benefits, cholesterol improvement and diabetes management.