Battle Of The Keto Fats: Coconut Oil Or Butter

Introduction

If you’re looking for the best Keto-friendly fat then you’ve probably stumbled across both coconut oil and butter.  Both are fantastic, but which one is best for your Keto?  The following article will highlight the positives and negatives of both of these fats so that you can make an informed decision as to which one suits your needs the best.

What makes a good Keto fat?

When you’re looking for a healthy fat option for your Keto, your best bet is to go with oils or fats that are high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids with no trans fats.  Any oil or fat that’s been minimally processed and is as close to its natural food source is a good choice.  Typical oils you might encounter on Keto are extra-virgin olive oil, avocado and coconut oil.  You might also see some MCT oil, butter, lard and ghee (or clarified butter).  

What makes these fats Keto-friendly is their high smoke points, their heart-healthy fatty acids and their versatility.  Versatility is important because you want to choose an oil that’s healthy but you also want to make sure that you can cook with it in a variety of dishes.  Some oils, such as flax seed oil, have such a distinctive flavor that it’s hard to use them.  

When it comes to smoke point, you want to look for an oil that can withstand high temperatures without breaking down.  When oils break down they release harmful chemicals into your body.  Some oils are Keto-friendly but they should only be used cold while other oils, such as coconut oil, can withstand large amounts of heat which makes them better suited to frying.  It’s important to know the smoke point of your oil or fat so that you can choose the best one for your particular cooking method.   

Benefits of coconut oil 

Coconut oil comes in two different varieties, refined and unrefined.  Both have their advantages and their disadvantages.  

Refined coconut oil has been processed in order to remove the smell and flavor of coconuts from the oil.  This makes it more versatile than unrefined coconut oil that still retains its coconut flavor.  Refined coconut oil is also a cheaper option which is important if you’re on a budget since Keto isn’t the cheapest diet.  In terms of smoke point, the refined version takes the cake there as well with an extremely high smoke point.

Unrefined coconut oil can also be called virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil.  Although it’s more expensive than the refined version, it’s the perfect oil to choose for Keto fat bombs, smoothies and deserts that you’d love to have a tropical, coconutty flavor.  It’s also a healthier option since it hasn’t been through the refinement process.  

Which type of coconut oil you choose will depend on your budget and your individual cooking needs.  However, both types of coconut oil are great for assisting your body in producing ketones and helping you reach your Keto fat macros. 

Coconut oil is roughly 80% saturated fats.  Scientists are still debating on whether or not saturated fats are good for your health or damaging to your heart.  Some studies prove one opinion while other studies show it’s the opposite.  While the scientists are debating, it’s safe to say that in moderation, saturated fats are okay.  This means that as long as you’re not eating an excessive amount of coconut oil, you shouldn’t see any adverse effects.

One of the components in coconut oil that’s shown to be so beneficial is MCT (medium-chain triglycerides).  In fact, this compound is seen to be so beneficial that you can now buy it separate from coconut oil in its pure form.  MCT oil is thought to raise the levels of HDL (good cholesterol) in your bloodstream while helping to lower your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.  

Coconut oil is reputed to have health benefits beyond your heart as well.  Some people claim that it has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that might make it beneficial in treating yeast infections.  There is anecdotal evidence that coconut oil can improve the health of your skin, nails and hair as well when used topically.  

When it comes to your Keto and the benefits that it provides when you ingest it, coconut oil is definitely Keto friendly.  It contains no carbs and it’s 100% fat.  That being said, moderation is key since it’s so high in saturated fats and it has a whopping 120 calories in a single tablespoon.  If you’re doing Keto in order to see weight loss it’s important to remember that calories matter and a little goes a long way with an oil such as coconut oil. 

Benefits of butter on Keto

When looking for a healthy Keto fat, you can’t do much better than butter.  The best butter for your Keto is grass-fed raw butter.  Like with most things, the more organic and natural your butter is, the healthier it is for you. Grass-fed raw butter is 100% fat.  It contains no carbs, no protein and no sugars.

Up until recent years, butter got a bad reputation as being bad for the health of your heart.  However, humans have been eating butter for a very long time and it’s actually healthier for you than the man-made super processed vegetables oils that are created Iabs.  

One of the best things about butter is its flavor.  Nothing can compare to the buttery taste that you get from butter.  It’s rich, creamy and complex.  You can use it to sauté your veggies, roast your meat or spread raw on your favorite Keto breads or muffins.

Butter has shown signs in recent studies of being great at promoting the health of your brain. This is because it’s one of the largest natural food sources of a compound known as butyrate. Butyrate has also been shown to help treat Crohn’s disease and lower inflammation in the body. 

Butter is also a source of vitamins A, E and B12 which you might not expect in a fat.  This is because it’s 100% natural and retains some of the nutrients that the cows who ate it ingested.

In terms of calories, butter has fewer calories per tablespoon than coconut oil does with only 102 cal.  However, that’s still a lot of calories in a small package so again, moderation is key when it comes to consumption of butter.   

Which one is right for you?

So which is better, butter or coconut oil?  Which fat should you choose on your Keto diet?  The short answer is, you should choose both!  Both of these healthy fats can work together to help you reach your Keto fat goals.  Which one you use will depend largely on personal preference and what you need your fat to do.

  • If you’re looking for a spread on your Keto-bread: Choose butter.
  • If you’re looking for a smoothie addition: Choose coconut oil (refined for no flavor, unrefined for a tropical taste)
  • If you’re worried about your budget: Choose either refined coconut oil or butter.
  • If you’re looking to fry foods: Choose refined coconut oil or butter
  • If you’re looking to sauté foods: Butter will add a richness that you can’t get with coconut oil
  • If you’re looking to marinade: Refined coconut oil might be the best choice
  • If you’re roasting poultry: Butter will give you a rich, crispy skin
  • In baking:  Both!  Refined coconut oil is easy to substitute for any oil listed in a recipe while unrefined coconut oil will add a pleasant coconut flavor to your baking.  If you want a classic, rich flavor then butter is your best option
  • If you’re looking to buy in bulk:  Butter comes in smaller packaging than coconut oil but it can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 months and you can even freeze it for up to a year.  Coconut oil on the other hand tends to come in larger containers and it’s shelf stable for up to two years! 
  • If you’re looking for versatility:  Both refined coconut oil and butter are extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of foods and recipes. 
  • If you’re making Keto mayo: Keto friendly mayonnaise can be made with a variety of oils; however, refined coconut oil works well in the recipe shown second here
  • If you’re looking to make your own chocolate: Chocolate can be Keto friendly if you use a recipe like the one shown here.  It uses both coconut oil and butter for a delicious taste of one of your old favorites
  • If you’re looking for a creamy sauce: Use butter to make brown butter!  This is easily done by heating butter in the microwave until the milk fats turn brown and the water has evaporated.  You’re left with a creamy, delicious sauce that you can pour over meat, fish or your favorite Keto-friendly pasta alternative

Conclusion

Both coconut oil and butter can be great additions to your Keto diet that will help you reach your Keto macros.  Because they’re both high in calories and saturated fats, moderation is the key to keeping your consumption healthy.  Which fat you choose is going to depend on your personal preference and what you’re using the fat for.  No matter which one you choose you can rest easy knowing you’ve made a healthy, Keto-friendly choice!

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