If you have been following the keto diet you may have noticed that almost all coconut products are commonly used for all kinds of purposes. From creating keto desserts to ketogenic thickeners and milk substitutes.
And coconut oil is no exception. It is one of the most widely used oils by the dieters in the keto community, as it is a great way to increase your fat intake, as well as add a nice sweet and slightly nutty flavor to the food.
If you want to find out more about coconut oil, the different types, nutritious value, and if it is healthy for you, then keep on reading!
What Is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is the oil that is extracted from the meat or kennel of a mature coconut, that is harvested from the coconut palm.
This oil and its culinary use have a long history in Asia, mostly used in tropical regions and cuisines such as the Sri Lankan cuisine, as well as in the cuisines of Kerala and Thailand. It is a very slow-oxidizing oil that does not spoil easily, so it does well in tropical climates.
Today, coconut oil is used all around the globe in many different industries.
Coconut Oil Nutrition Facts
In the table below, we have the nutritional information on 100 grams of coconut oil. (*)
|Total Carbs||0 grams|
|Net Carbs||0 grams|
Types Of Coconut Oil
Just like most products out there, coconut oil also comes with a few different types and different classifications. The types of oil differ by the amount of processing needed to create the oil, as well as the extraction methods used or which parts of the coconut are used to extract the oil from.
The extraction methods can be the following: cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, or centrifuged, which are the methods of extracting oil from dry or fresh coconut.
Cold-pressed or expeller-pressed is often thought of as being “raw”, but that might not be the case, as high heat is sometimes used during the process. The process of centrifuging gives the best quality of coconut oil.
Regarding the part of the coconut used, it can be made from the whole kernel, where the brown inside skin is left, or white kernel, where the inner coconut skin is removed. The latter gives a milder flavor, while the whole kernel coconut oil has a nuttier taste.
Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil
These terms are commonly used when referring to oil, but what exactly do they mean and what is the difference between refined and unrefined oil?
Refined coconut oil or “dry milled” oil, means that the coconut meat or kennel has been baked (dried) before the extraction of the coconut oil. The dried coconut meat is called copra. After being extracted from the copra, it is then cleaned and deodorized with a process called bleaching to kill-off any insects, microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses, as well as dust particles.
Even though the process is called bleaching, it doesn’t actually involve any household cleaners. It is a process where the oil is filtered through a bleaching clay. This results in a clear and mild-tasting coconut oil without much of a fragrance.
Sometimes, partially-hydrogenated fats are added to the coconut oil. These types of fats are artificial trans fats that are commonly used in products such as margarine and have a long list of negative health effects which include increasing the risk for cardiovascular disease. (*)
Apart from the potential harmful added ingredients, refined coconut oil is more processed than unrefined and it also has a 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176.6 degrees Celsius) smoke point, which makes it a bad option for frying food.
Unrefined coconut oil or virgin coconut oil is made with a process called “wet-milling”. This means that the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat, which is then put into a centrifuge and does not undergo the bleaching process.
This type of coconut oil is the most “pure” and unprocessed type you can get. Because it is not refined and highly processed, it still has a slight coconut flavor and a high smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204.4 degrees Celsius).
When cooking with unrefined or virgin coconut oil, the taste of the coconut is transferred to the food, giving it a slightly tropical taste.
Overall, the refining process of coconut oil removes beneficial nutrients such as polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids which hold antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (*)
So, which is better for the keto diet? Apart from the low carb intake, the keto diet is based on food that is as little processed as possible, without any artificial additives, and the consumption of food that is as pure as possible.
When it comes to refined vs. unrefined coconut oil, the choice is obvious. The unrefined, virgin coconut oil is minimally processed and without any added artificial trans fats, like partially hydrogenated fats, which are oftentimes present in refined coconut oil. So, it is the best coconut oil for keto since you get the full benefits.
Is Coconut Oil Healthy?
Coconut oil has been a controversial conversation for years. Its high saturated fat content can confuse many people to think that consuming it can be harmful to cardiovascular health.
However, recent research has shown that the fats in coconut oil are unique and they can, in fact, protect the heart and the cardiovascular system, as it contains up to 50% MCT or medium-chain triglycerides Regions where coconut oil is commonly used, such as Sri Lanka have the lowest death rate from ischemic heart disease. (*)
The MCTs in coconut oil also have a potentially beneficial role in patients with Alzheimer’s. And they can also provide fast energy that goes to the brain, as it is metabolized very quickly, and it also may help speed up your metabolism, and aid weight-loss. (*) (*)
Can You Use Coconut Oil On The Keto Diet?
Coconut oil is one of the best oils out there to use on a diet that requires adequate fat intake, such as the keto diet. It is up to 50% MCTs, which can help you burn even more fat on the diet. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, as well as many other health benefits.
The best kind to use is unrefined or virgin coconut oil that is organic and unprocessed. It is also a great cooking oil because of its high smoking point, so incorporating it into the keto diet should not be a problem.
You can use coconut oil for baking, roasting, or baking, as well as an ingredient in keto desserts and keto fat bombs.
See more: Is coconut milk keto friendly?
Yes, coconut oil is keto-friendly if it is unrefined or virgin coconut oil.
One tablespoon or 14 grams of coconut oil contains 120 calories and 14 grams of fat.
Coconut oil is a great addition to a keto diet and a great way to add some fat into it. Unrefined, virgin coconut oil can be very beneficial to health and weight loss, as it contains up to 50% medium-chain fatty acids.
It has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that it translates to the food you add it to. You can use it to cook, bake, or make no-bake desserts and cakes. It can also be a great ingredient to add in ketogenic fat bombs and other keto recipes.
You can learn more about coconut on keto diet and explore many keto recipes using coconut products on our blog. Here are some recipes you can follow:
- Coconut Bread
- Coconut Cookie Dough Balls
- Chocolate Coconut Cups
- Coconut Squares
- Coconut Chocolate Fat Bombs
- Coconut Cream Pie
*Image by depositphotos.com/e_mikh