There is a lot of debate about which oil is healthy and which isn’t. For every claim in favour of any cooking oil, there is always at least one unfavourable claim. This is true for sunflower oil, canola oil, rice bran oil, mustard oil, coconut oil; even olive oil.
Coconut oil is a staple in South–Indian cuisine and is also used in South East Asian cuisine. It is also finding increasing use as an alternative to butter and is being used to add subtle undertones to the flavours of desserts.
You probably clicked on this article because you are already using (or consuming) coconut oil in your food for any of these reasons, or because you are considering switching to it as your go-to cooking oil either because of its flavor or because of potential health advantages. Let’s explore the quantity of calories in coconut oil and the implications of these calories in coconut oil on your health.
Assuming you are using virgin coconut oil, one of the points in favour of coconut oil is low quantities of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat.
All said and done, the fat content in coconut oil would be similar to equivalent oils in other cooking oil categories such as olive oil, canola oil and vegetable oil.
Coconut oil is high in lauric acid, which is, in turn, linked to an increased level of HDL levels (or good cholesterol levels). High HDL levels in the larger scheme of overall cholesterol levels, are linked to lower risk of heart disease.
You get about 860 to 960 calories in a coconut oil serving of about 100 grams. That’s about 7 spoonfuls. So that is the amount of calories in a cup of coconut oil. That amounts to nearly 1000 calories in 1 cup of coconut oil.
A tablespoon/tbs should ideally be around 15 grams and that would give you about 240 calories.
A teaspoon/tsp would be about 5 grams and therefore there would be about 80 calories in 1 tsp of coconut oil.
Let’s say you prepare a vegetable dish and use two tablespoons of coconut oil to cook it. You are adding at least about 500 calories to your calorie intake.
If you prepare (or order) a dessert that uses a cup of coconut oil, that’s at least 1000 calories added to your calorie intake, assuming you eat the whole cake by yourself in a single day.
The volume of saturated fats in coconut oil is being seen by some nutritionists as an opportunity to improve heart health. However, especially if you have a heart condition or are struggling with high cholesterol, it might not be advisable to be a guinea pig for this claim because research and conclusive evidence are still lacking.
If you want to reduce HDL levels, consider walking and other physical activities that can promote weight loss, quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake before you consider consuming more oil.
We cannot think of any good reason to add coconut oil to any diet. If it already exists within your diet and you are not exceeding the recommended dietary intake of calories for your health, age and weight, then there might not be any reason to cut it out.
Most human beings utilise 2000 to 2500 calories per day; you use 1800 calories per day even if you sit around doing nothing all day.
Coconut oil can be consumed in moderation, especially if it is already part of your diet. You certainly do not need to increase your intake of coconut oil, or begin gulping down spoonfuls of it. Remember, there are 80 calories in 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
If you intend to increase HDL levels, you can consider a brisk walk and other forms of exercise. Avoid increasing your coconut oil intake towards this goal, because it also contains a high amount of saturated fats. You don’t need to increase HDL levels and simultaneously intake calories in 15 ml of coconut oil.
Always consider your overall intake of calories, especially if you need to lose weight (or in the rarer event that you need to gain weight) for health preservation. In other words, do not single out certain popularly criminalised foods, because this might mean that you are overlooking high calories in less popularly criminalised foods.
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Both coconut oil and olive oil have the same amount of total fat per serving, but coconut oil has 6 times the amount of saturated fats. Olive oil, however, has 1.5 times the polyunsaturated fats and 10 times the monounsaturated fats.
Equivalent servings of coconut and vegetable oil also pack in similar amounts of total fat, but coconut oil - once again has 6 times the amount of saturated fats. Vegetable oil, however, has 8 times the polyunsaturated fats and 3 times the monounsaturated fats.
To burn the calories in coconut oil in a single tablespoon, the average 60kg person would need to walk for about an hour, or alternatively bike for half an hour. You might even be able to burn that amount of calories if you bike for 30 minutes. However, do consider that if you use a tablespoon of coconut oil to cook a dish, you probably are cooking enough for several people, or several meals (unless you are getting your coconut oil intake from very oily food or desserts). Also, most of us utilise calories consumed in the day. Most human beings need 2000 to 2500 calories per day; about 1800 calories even if you lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Fresh coconuts are hand-harvested, and the flesh is swiftly dried using hot air to eliminate excess moisture, which helps to prevent bacteria and mould growth. Without using excessive heat or chemicals, the coconut flesh is physically crushed and pressed.
No. The majority of commercial-grade coconut oils are prepared from sun-dried coconut flesh or coconut meat that has been dried with smoke and/or high heat. Copra is the name given to the end product. Because most of this copra is handled in an unsanitary way, it is more prone to mould and bacterial infestation. Copra is pressed, and the resultant oil is usually refined, bleached, and deodorised (RBD) to clean it and make it appropriate for cosmetic or food applications.