Fat Content in Olive oil, Avocado Oil, and MCT oil

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Fat Content in Olive oil, Avocado Oil, and MCT oil

An essential part of the keto diet consists of eating a serious amount of fat every single day, and one of the easiest ways of doing this is by incorporating a lot of oils into your menu.

The three most popular oil options that people use to meet their dietary fat goals and maintain effective ketosis are olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, and MCT oil. Without them, it would be extremely hard to get the recommended amount of daily fat in a healthy way.

How much fat is there in Olive oil?

Olive oil is the most accessible and popular oil choice among all followers of the keto diet. It has a lot of health benefits.

According to the Food Composition Database of the USDA, a tablespoon of olive oil contains, on average:
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) - 10 g
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) - 2 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) - 1 g
Total fat: 13 g (that’s about 99 grams of fat in 100 g of olive oil)

How much fat is there in avocado oil?

Once again, if you look into the Food Composition Database of the USDA, you’ll find the following amount of fats stated for a tablespoon of avocado oil, on average:
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) - 10 g
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) - 2 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) - 2 g
Total fat: 14 g (that’s about 100 grams of fat in 100 g of avocado oil)

As you see, olive oil and avocado oil are almost identical in terms of fat content, so the choice between these two is mostly a matter of personal preference. Both are great choices for the ketogenic diet.

Coconut and MCT oils are on a whole other level.

How much fat is there in coconut oil?

Let’s check out what the USDA says about a tablespoon of coconut oil:
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) - 0.8 g
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) - 11.2 g (some coconut oil products may have much less, about 5 g)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) - 0.2 g
Total fat: 13 g (that’s about 99 grams of fat in 100 g of coconut oil)

As you see, the main difference between coconut oil and the previous two points on our list is that coconut oil has a much higher content of saturated fatty acids. Olive and avocado oils consist mostly monounsaturated fatty acids.
We’ll get to why this is important a bit later, so keep reading.

How much fat is there in MCT oil?

On average, a tablespoon of MCT oil has 14 g of fat, but ALL of it consists of SFAs - and that’s 7 times more than olive or avocado oils have!

This is because MCT oil, by definition, consists exclusively of medium-chain triglycerides, which are saturated fatty acids. Meaning a tablespoon of MCT oil has:
Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) - 0 g
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) - 14 g
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) - 0 g
Total fat: 14 g (roughly 100 grams of fat in 100 g of coconut oil)

So, is there a real difference?

All of the 4 options mentioned above are keto-friendly, so the ultimate question is: are saturated fatty acids (SFAs) better than (MUFAs) for you? Are olive and avocado oils better than coconut and MCT oils, or it’s the other way around?

The short answer is that there’s no universal ”best” option, but SFAs in general and MCTs specifically may be a much preferably option for some people.

  • Unlike other fats, MCTs do not require bile to be digested. Therefore, MCT oil and coconut oil (which is usually 50 to 80% MCTs) may be a better option for people suffering from any conditions of the liver and gallbladder (including the absence of the latter).
  • MCTs are absorbed directly into the liver (other fats go through a different pathway) where they can be quickly metabolized into ketone bodies, so MCT oil and coconut oil are preferable for people having a hard time getting into ketosis.
  • MCTs are a better option for people with malnutrition, malabsorption, and any chronic inflammatory condition of the bowels (like ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), since they don’t require any enzymes or transporters to be absorbed into the blood.

Conclusion

To summarize, all 4 options described above are great for anyone going keto, it’s mostly a matter of taste and convenience.

At the same time, coconut oil and MCT oil are preferable for:

  • People suffering from any conditions of the liver, gallbladder, or inflammatory conditions of the bowel.
  • People having a hard time getting into ketosis.



3 Responses

scott
scott

July 10, 2019

Fats in general are a controversial subject when it comes to health. The solid at room temperature test is only a guideline and meant for people who just aren’t into a deeper understanding of their food. Bio-Medical research has always been a decade or more ahead of medical advice. The real question is once it has solidified does it stay solid as you increase the temperature to closer to that of the human body. For that jar of cococnut oil that looks like lard when you get it from the store will quickly turn to liquid by applying just asmall amount of heat. Just the friction of whipping a fork through it can turn it liquid. Let me put it this way when my A/C was out that Costco sized jar of organic coconut oil turned completely liquid in the jar when the temperature in the house was above 85. Where as most LCTs will stay solid over 100 degrees.

Lowell Morton
Lowell Morton

June 11, 2019

One advantage of Avocado Oil over Olive Oil, Coconut Oil or MCT Oil is that it has the highest smoke point over the others. That means when cooking with the oils, Avocado will sustain a higher temperature before breaking down that the other oils. I also prefer Avocado oil when making Keto friendly mayonnaise. Olive Oil can impart a stronger flavor and MCT Oil isn’t hearty enough to sustain the suspension between the fats and the acids. Avocado Oil produces an excellent mayonnaise that, in my opinion, is better than store bought. It’s now my preferred Oil for cooking.

Klee
Klee

June 11, 2019

Is there a difference between coconut oil and the jarred coconut which is solid at room temperature other than the obvious temperature difference? The reason I ask is that I believe that solid oils at room temperature are high in long chain triglycerides, not a favorable food item for my health.

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