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Is Coconut Oil Healthier Than Butter?

By Brierley Wright, M.S., R.D., August 17, 2012 - 1:21pm

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Brierley asks: Have you replaced butter with coconut oil?


Olive oil oxidizes very fast if used for cooking due to the heat, and canola oil (polyunsaturated) breaks down under the heat as well making it worse than trans fats.


08/19/2012 - 12:26am

Yes butter look healthier but your Web site is Eating Well What is your definition of WELL? Once ingested which is weller for you?


08/20/2012 - 12:22pm

I am going to take my chances with coconut oil before Canola now that I have read they ripen Canola with Roundup.


08/20/2012 - 12:52pm

In some recipes it works well instead of butter because the coconut flavor plays well with the other ingredients. I've tried it in a vegan chocolate chip oatmeal cookie recipe which substitutes two parts almond butter and one part coconut oil for the butter quantity. The recipe also called for toasted shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and slivered toasted almonds to be folded into the dough. The coconut flavor goes really well with toasted nuts and chocolate. Also makes a shrimp stir fry great if you add some hot pepper flakes and sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top of the finished dish.


08/22/2012 - 3:50pm

My husband and I have both replaced butter with coconut oil. We never used much butter to begin with, but we are attempting to eliminate most dairy from our diets. After investigating "The China Study" by Dr. Campbell we came to realize the risks associated with dairy products due to the Casein found in dairy which has shown to be a carcinogen to the human body. The difference in fat and calories is not the main issue when you look at the two products for anyone that truly researches vairous aspects of health and nutrition and takes their diet seriously. The average person that does not do this is going to eat too much butter or coconut oil depending on which one you tell them is healthier. If you say coconut oil is healthy, they will put it on everything they eat in excess, because that is what we do as Americans. Bottom line, they are both fats and need to be used in moderation. If you are concerned about your consumption of carcinogens, then coconut oil is the healthier option.


08/24/2012 - 9:15pm

Yes I have. I decided since I don't use butter often I will replace what little I use with coconut oil.
However, I still use it in some instances (maybe when I make whole wheat pancakes). I love using grapeseed oil. I don't hear much about grapeseed oil how is it verses olive oil and canola, both of which I use occasionally.


09/06/2012 - 3:35pm

Yes,as far as cooking with, it is the best for cooking with, olive oil should never be heated, and canola oil is terrible for your health, should never be used.


09/14/2012 - 12:22am

Your takeaway has some interesting conclusions. In was my understanding that Canola oil is produced from rapeseed. The rapeseed is heated and proceeded with petroleum solvents to extract the oil. Then the oil is heated and acid is added to remove the solids and wax. More chemicals are added to improve the color and make it look more palatable. All of this processing and exposure to heat damages the oil that when consumed release free radicals into the body and have adverse effect on cell membranes. Other issues with vegetable oils are that they have very high levels the polyunsaturated fats but very high levels of not the omega 3s but the omega 6s, so the omega3 to the omega6 ratio is kind of thrown out of whack. So you’ve got these polyunsaturated fats that do not reflect the fatty acid composition of your body but also very unstable that oxidize very easily in your body if they haven’t already been oxidized when they’ve been processed, when they’ve been exposed to light by sitting on the grocery store shelf or exposed to heat in your car or in transportation or anywhere else and that can cause a lot of inflammation. In arterial cells, that can cause a type of inflammation that digs in and causes atherosclerosis or oxidation of cholesterol particles. It can cause issues, for example, in reproductive tissue. There’s some evidence that these types of polyunsaturated fats that have been chemically processed can cause issues like endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome because the reproductive tissue’s very sensitive to oxidized fats. And so when you’re looking at vegetable oils with a high concentration of omega6 fatty acids and a high concentration of polyunsaturated fats, those create an imbalance of oils in your body. The other issue is that when these things are processed, they still wind up not being like a pure vegetable oil. They’ve got a lot of these harmful chemicals like there’s a couple in particular called BHA and BHT which are artificial anti-oxidants that they add to the oil to try and keep it from oxidizing or from spoiling too quickly on the grocery store shelf or during transportation in your home and all of these additives are potential carcinogens. Vegetable oils have also contained a lot of the residues of any pesticide or chemicals that have been used. Some of the main oils that are going to be prone to these issues of having high levels of omega6 fatty acids, high levels of polyunsaturated bonds or high levels of polyunsaturates, higher levels of the BHA and the BHT and just more chemical processing period are going to be canola oil, corn oil, soy bean oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, sun flower oil, margarine of course, shortening your course, any of these fake butters like Smart Balance, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. All of these would be the type of oils I would avoid.


10/27/2012 - 4:48pm

Yes, I did. Coconut oil is also very expensive. I will give this article to my daughter who was the one who insisted we change to coconut. Thank you so much for your research. JC


11/10/2012 - 1:22pm

I made rice krispie squares with coconut oil instead of butter. Tasted almost identical, just a slight taste of coconut, slightly sweeter. But if butter is still better for you, no reason to switch.


02/19/2013 - 11:27pm

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