Let’s talk coconut oil!

I am taking a break from the food photos today just for something different.  So, I thought I would talk a little about coconut oil.  I do get emails about it and some comments, because you all know that I do cook with it on a regular basis.

First off, my feelings on fat are that it isn’t bad and you do need it in your diet.  Fat keeps you full and is necessary for the absorption of certain vitamins.  It’s also good for your skin.  That’s why the only real fat free food I eat is Greek yogurt.  We drink 1% milk and not skim.  I only get skim milk when I am having a latte out since it is usually whole or skim as a choice, and I do try to save some calories there.

Anyhoo – coconut oil was vilified as a saturated fat thanks to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which lumped coconut oil into the hydrogenated fat arena (and vilified chinese food as well, if you remember).

Coconut oil is a tropical oil; however it is a medium-chain fatty acid.  This means that the body actually will use this oil more efficiently and quickly.  Coconut oil is not a hydrogenated oil (or shouldn’t be if it isn’t blended with something like in Coffeemate), and therefore is not a trans fat.  There are a couple different types of coconut oil.  There is 76 degree, which (obviously) melts at 76 degrees F and has no smell (made from dried coconut).  The other is virgin coconut oil, which has a melting point of 92 degrees and is very fragrant of coconut (made from fresh coconut).  This is the one I use for cooking.

I  like cooking with coconut oil much better than liquid vegetable oils.  It is lighter (if that makes any sense) and does not coat the food like liquid oils do, and has a very light taste.  It has a high smoke point, so it won’t burn easily. There is a bit of coconut flavor in the oil, although not as much as the scent would indicate.  I actually really like it with vegetables.  John loves to fry with it.

Interesting research is also coming out that medium-chain fatty acids may be beneficial in protecting our digestive system against  bad microbes.  Not really sure how much you have to eat to get those benefits, however!

Now, I don’t really buy into the hype that coconut oil is the be all/ end all of fats that you read.  Some people are so gung-ho on it (which is always a red flag to me).  In my reading, I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t evil, it tastes good, might have some possible benefits, and in moderation is perfectly fine.  I don’t know as a teaspoon or 2 of coconut oil is going to have any magical effect on me 😛  , but it won’t hurt.

You can find coconut oil in most larger stores that have a natural foods section, but you really will find your best price online.  Coconut oil is actually not very expensive per pound if you shop carefully.

Related reading:

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Weston Price Foundation

Coconut Oil

Diet of Thailand

Coconut oil as car fuel

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11 thoughts on “Let’s talk coconut oil!

  1. debby

    Good info, Lori. I bought some (because of you!) but I have to admit I haven’t used it much yet. It’s not as convenient, being solid. One time I used it and the food tasted funny to me. I”m pretty sure it wasn’t the oil, but you know how you are when trying something new–all suspicious and everything. Well, anyways, I am. But I am going to try it again. As soon as I cook something…

    Hey, do you use it on your skin? I thought I read that somewhere.
    .-= debby´s last blog ..Look What Happened While I was at Work! =-.

    1. Lori Post author

      I sort of use in on my skin in that the soap I make uses coconut oil in it. I have been thinking about massaging it directly onto my face to see what happens. I do rub it on my hands, and it soaks right in, which is wonderful.

  2. Susan

    Thanks for the info Lori!! I have issues digesting high fat foods, nuts and eggs are the only things that don’t bother my stomach, hence why I eat so much of them! I should give coconut oil a try to see if it fares any better on my tummy than olive or canola oil. I just wish it wasn’t so dang expensive…
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Monthly Goal Check-In! =-.

  3. Fitcetera

    I actually just bought myself some creamed coconut (the only ingredient!) which says you can cook with it. I also use coconut milk in my shakes on occasion and try to find the one with the least amount of added ingredients.
    I’m with you on the fat thing 100%. I don’t shun fats anymore. I’m not too liberal with them but aim for a moderate amount with each meal.
    Great post, Lori. Thanks.
    .-= Fitcetera´s last blog ..Foody Days & Foody Nights ~~ Exodus Out of Dessert =-.

  4. Jody - Fit at almost 52

    LOVED this post. I have read a lot about coconut oil in the past few years, good, bad & basically what you said & I tend to agree with you. I like your moderate approach to this & sensible conclusions!

    I am reading a book now & will chat a bit tomorrow about it on my blog .. saturated fats (good or bad, high protein, low carb… I am reviewing it Monday the 16th on my site… they contacted me & even though I am not a follower of this plan, they still wanted me to read & review.

    YES, I went the way too little fat route when I was young & stupid… not good! But I am not sure about this saturated fat stuff although I know people that swear by it…

    Anyway, I digress… 🙂

    Great post! THX! I am not a good cook so this helps!
    .-= Jody – Fit at almost 52´s last blog ..Does Quitting Ever Enter Your Mind? =-.

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