Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil?

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

 

Coconut Oil has preoccupied the collective health-conscious consumers among us for nearly 5 years.

It’s everywhere — and it is delicious. Imparting a beautiful and distinctive tropical flavor to everything from coffee to popcorn to sweet and savory snacks — to seasonal soups.

Health Claims

The health claims are robust with promises to:

• slow aging
• aid heart and thyroid function
• protect against Alzheimer’s
• arthritis
• diabetes
• aid weight loss

With a plethora of cooking oils to choose from, the question then becomes whether to replace extra virgin olive oil with coconut oil due to its proposed benefits.

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

What Coconut Oil Is

Coconut oil is made by pressing the fat from the white “meat” inside the giant nut. About 84% of its calories come from saturated fat. To compare, 14% of olive oil’s calories are from saturated fat and 63% of butter’s are.

“This explains why, like butter and lard, coconut oil is solid at room temperature with a long shelf life and the ability to withstand high cooking temperatures,” says registered dietitian Lisa Young, PhD.

Heart Health

Most fans of coconut oil point to studies that show the oil’s ability to boost HDL or “good” cholesterol because of its makeup of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, a fat that is metabolized more efficiently in the body.

However, in boosting the good HDL cholesterol, it also boosts the LDL or “bad” cholesterol. Nutritionists have argued whether this then results in a neutral or even beneficial result. The jury is still out on that one.

It’s important to note that coconut oil has less than 3-percent MCT.

The Concern

Laurence Eyres, chairman of the Oils & Fats Specialist Group at the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry explains that “butter raises HDL, too, and with coconut oil, ‘it’s particularly the rise in small LDL particles that are worrisome because they are really atherogenic,’ meaning they promote the formation of plaque in arteries.”

The Conclusion

Eyres puts it plainly: ‘It would be dangerous, and rather silly, to replace your extra-virgin olive oil with coconut oil’.”

The American Heart Association says to limit saturated fat to no more than 13 grams per day, which is equivalent to about a tablespoon of coconut oil.

Conclusion: Enjoy the lovely flavor of coconut oil in your food, add it sparingly to sautes and smoothies — or coffee, popcorn… soups, but don’t make it your go-to, everyday oil. Extra virgin olive oil remains the healthiest.

Coconut Oil Recipes

Carrot-Coconut Soup with Harissa and Crispy Leeks

“Coconut oil adds nutty, aromatic flavor to this creamy, sweet soup. If you can’t find harissa to garnish with, drizzle it with hot sauce or sprinkle with a pinch of chili flakes instead.”

Get the recipe here.

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

Maple, Pecan, and Sour Cherry Granola

Coconut oil adds flavor and helps aid in big, chewy clumps.

Get the recipe here.

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

Spiced Popcorn with Pecans and Raisins

“This is seriously addictive—salty, sweet, and crunchy at the same time. We like to pop the popcorn in coconut oil for an extra-nutty note.”

Get the recipe here.

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

Chipotle Parsnip Crisps

Get the recipe here.

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

Southwest Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

Get the recipe here.

Should We Replace Olive Oil with Coconut Oil? | 31Daily.com

 

Healthy and Delicious Coconut Oil Recipes | 31Daily.com

Written by 

Stephanie Wilson is an author, blogger, publisher, and former television news writer and producer. She lives in the Puget Sound area with her husband and teenage son.