Coconut oil, which is the fat derived from coconuts, has exploded in popularity over the past few years. As such, you may wonder whether it’s appropriate for the low carb, high fat keto diet.
On this diet, your body enters ketosis, a metabolic state in which you burn fat for fuel instead of carbs. This process may help you stabilize your blood sugar levels and lose weight, though it’s also used to aid people with epileptic seizures (1, 2).
The keto diet generally restricts carb intake to 20–50 grams per day. You should get around 20% of your daily calories from protein and 70–75% from fat.
This article explains whether coconut oil is suitable for the keto diet.
Coconut oil is perfectly keto-friendly. Because it’s pure fat, it can help you meet your increased fat needs without adding any carbs to your diet.
However, if you’re doing keto for weight loss, you’ll want to limit your coconut oil intake. It’s a very calorie-rich food, packing 120 calories per 1 tablespoon (14 grams) (5).
Even on the keto diet, you won’t lose weight if you eat more calories than you burn. Also, if you’re on a Mediterranean-style keto diet, focus more on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as avocado, nuts, and seeds. Overall, moderate intake of this oil.
Coconut oil is best suited for baking and pan-frying.
Keep in mind that virgin coconut oil has a mild coconut flavor that may affect the flavor of your dish. For a more neutral taste, try refined coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a great option for the keto diet because it’s pure fat and provides no carbs. Yet, you should limit your intake if you’re trying to lose weight, as it’s high in calories.
In addition to coconut oil, a few other oils are suitable for the keto diet:
- Avocado oil. Its high smoke point makes avocado oil ideal for frying food. It can reach hot temps without smoking, resulting in a crispier product. It also boasts a deep, nutty flavor.
- Olive oil. Olive oil is uniquely suited for salad dressings. It has a relatively low smoke point, so it’s not ideal for cooking, but it can be used to make easy vinaigrettes.
Although all cooking oils are 100% fat, it’s recommended that you avoid seed oils like soybean, corn, and sunflower oil, as they may promote inflammation and introduce cell-damaging free radicals (8, 9, 10).
Other keto-friendly oils include avocado and olive oils. All cooking oils are pure fat, but some — such as soybean oil — may promote inflammation.
Coconut oil is an ideal cooking oil for the keto diet. It contains MCTs, which may help you burn more fat.
Other healthy keto-friendly oils include avocado and olive oils.
Regardless, you should moderate your oil intake to keep your calories in check, especially if you’re following the keto diet for weight loss, and depend more on whole food unsaturated fats like avocado, nuts and seeds.