In a hurry? The best keto-friendly coconut oil is
Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil!
This article has been drafted for those who are struggling to get their daily dose of healthy fats into their keto diet.
And that’s where coconut oil comes into the picture. Coconut oil is:
- regarded as a natural superfood,
- is excellent for our immune system, digestion,
- and can easily be used by the body to get clean energy from ketones.
But the biggest challenge comes with buying the right type of coconut oil (or MCT oil?) since there’s plenty of them. That is why we’ve put together this article to cover everything coconut oil.
Coconut/MCT oil brands we cover in this article:
Refined vs. Unrefined
Refined and unrefined coconut oil are the ones you should include in your keto diet as both offer benefits but are different in terms of appearance, taste and nutritional value.
Refined Coconut Oil
- This type of coconut oil is "drily milled," which means the coconuts were baked prior to the oil being extracted. After extraction, the oil is "bleached" to kill the microbes off as well as get rid of any insects and dust particles.
- And when we say bleaching, we don't mean the kind that involves a household cleaner, but instead, a process in which the oil is passed through a bleaching clay for filtration.
- It’s ideal for beauty applications, like hair conditioning, as well as for people who wish to avoid the bold coconut flavor in their food. It’s also great for baking or sauteing as it has a smoke point of 350 degrees F, but not for frying.
Unrefined Coconut Oil
- To get unrefined coconut oil, the coconuts have to go through a process called “wet milling.” Oil gets extracted from fresh coconuts, spun down in a centrifuge without undergoing bleaching.
- With less refinement, you can get an even bigger coconut flavor. And with that in mind, you’ll also get more nutrients.
- Unrefined coconut oil contains polyphenols and medium-chain fatty acids that provide us with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities for our bodies. It has a smoke point of 400 degrees F and is more suitable for frying.
The Better Coconut Oil
When it comes to being better suited for a keto diet, unrefined oil is the better of the two due to its nutritional output.
Coconut Oil vs. MCT Oil
Coconut oil and MCT oil have one thing in common; they both have medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Let's have a closer look at both of them and see how they're beneficial in a keto diet.
Coconut oil is extracted from the kernel of a coconut. It can be done so with refined and unrefined methods. The oil is packed with healthy fats of which more than 50% are MCTs. Though the ratio of MCTs in coconut oil leans largely towards lauric acid (C12), which provide powerful and time microbial, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Its benefits include:
- Increasing “good” HDL cholesterol
- Kills harmful bacteria and other pathogens
- Aids in weight loss, especially around the waistline
- Promote skin health when used topically
MCT oils are purified extractions of coconut oil, making sure they contain a higher concentration of diverse MCTs (like C8 and C10) than coconut oil.
What makes MCT oils stand out from coconut oil is that they bypass the normal fat digestion process and go straight to the liver where they can be metabolized quickly and turned into an efficient source of energy. This provides us with increased fat burning properties by supporting the production of ketone bodies which make it the popular choice for keto dieters.
The benefits of MCT oil include:
- Help us lose fat
- Does a better job at keeping us full than coconut oil
- May improve cognitive function
- May improve heart health
- Can improve blood sugar regulation
Which is Better?
Both are considered to be the ultimate keto staple in their own rights. MCT oils are essential for a quick boost of energy and cognitive function as they are easier to digest. MCTs also comes in powdered form, which makes it easier to mix into foods and drinks.
- People are usually cautious around coconut oil because it closely touches long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), which take longer to digest and are less efficient for acquiring energy. But when converted to monolaurin - a special immune system agent - it increases our body’s defenses against disease.
- MCTs also comes in powdered form, which makes it easier to mix into foods and drinks. Coconut oils on the other hand, often come in a form that doesn't generously meet all of the aforementioned goals with MCT oil .
- Also, if you’re going for a more affordable option, then you can consider plain coconut or MCT oil. The only difference here is that there are more chances of you getting very few of the potent shorter chain MCTs (C8 and C10).
Does Coconut Oil Help
With Weight Loss?
Eatin coconut oil can be helpful in weight loss (1) due to containing MCT oil. Unlike other types of fat that mostly consist of long-chain fatty acids, MCT oil consists of only medium chain fatty acids (3).
These fatty acids are metabolized relatively quicker than LCTs because they're sent straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they can be used as the energy right away or get turned into ketone bodies.
- These fats also used by epileptic patients in their keto diet in order to increase ketone levels (4).
- There’s also evidence that medium chain fats are less efficiently stored than other fats. In one study (5), rats were overfed with either medium-chain or long-chain fats. In the results, the rats that were fed with medium-chain fats gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat.
One essential quality of coconut oil is that it’s “thermogenic” (6), in which eating it boosts energy expenditure (fat burning) compared to the same amount of calories from other types of fat.
- One study showed that 15-30 grams (or 1 to 2 tablespoons) of medium chain fats a day increases energy expenditure by 5%, equal to 120 calories a day (7).
- Other types of research show that, when compared to the same amount of calories from other fats, medium-chain fatty acids increase feelings of fullness and lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake. It makes sense because ketone bodies are well-known for having a powerful appetite reducing the effect (9, 10).
Ultimately, if coconut oil can help boost our metabolism and reduce appetite, then you’ll be losing fat in the long-run. Coconut oil can support weight loss indirectly, the foundation is still eating the right foods in the right amount.
Best Ways to Use Coconut
Oil During Keto
Eating coconut help you activate ketosis in your body. But this doesn't necessarily mean that you have to gobble down on the stuff as much as you'd like.
Taking things in excess, like with any other type of food will just throw things out of proportion, so the main priority is to use the right amount to get the right results.
Now, remember, when you add coconut oil into your diet, please do so slowly in order to reduce digestive side effects such as diarrhea or stomach cramping.
Start out by using only one teaspoon a day and then work your way to two and then three tablespoons daily over the course of a week.
Some of the best ways to incorporate coconut oil into your keto diet and reap its rich benefits include:
- Use it for cooking. This is perhaps the most common way to use coconut oil. Simply replace all your other cooking oils with virgin or expeller pressed coconut oil and that’s that. You can also use it for baking.
- Add it to smoothies, hot drinks, yogurt, and bone broth. Gently melt the coconut oil and then slowly pour it into your yogurt and smoothies. This prevents the coconut oil from clumping into your cold drinks. When it comes to soups or hot drinks, the coconut oil will simply melt allowing you just drink to your pleasure.
- Drink coconut milk. It’s also possible to enjoy a glass of homemade coconut milk. When you make this concoction, you will taste the oil in the milk.
- Bulletproof coffee. Coffee with butter and coconut oil is magic flowing down into your stomach.
How to Choose the Best
Coconut Oil for Keto
As we said earlier, there are plenty of coconut oil products out there, and if you go to the supermarket, you'll find them labeled as an organic, non-organic, virgin, raw, saturated and refined. Here's what you should do in order to choose the best one.
- Read the Label - Some coconut oil products use clever labels such as “pure” or “virgin,” but what does it actually mean?
- Virgin vs. Extra Virgin - Those who buy olive oil know the terms “extra virgin” and “virgin” too well. But when it comes to coconut oil, there really is no difference. Salesmen tend to get more out of coconut products that are labeled “extra virgin” so don’t fall for it.
Virgin coconut oil is an unrefined product that’s extracted from fresh coconut milk or meat. This type of coconut oil has a long shelf life and retains the health benefits from its medium chain fatty acid (MCFAs) content (2).
- Organic vs. Non-organic - Organic products have less potential for long-term adverse health effectsas they are grown without chemical pesticides or herbicides. So when looking for organic coconut oil, look for products that come with the USDA organic label. And to ensure that the product is not a GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) look for the Non-GMO seal of approval label.
- Hydrogenated Coconut Oil - Hydrogenated coconut oil is a hardened refined oil that has a long shelf life. It also has a solid texture and a higher melting point than unrefined coconut oil. However, the process of making these changes the unsaturated fats monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids into a more saturated and trans fat.
Best Coconut Oil
1. Skinny & Co. Coconut Oil (our favorite)
Skinny & Co. is a company who creates awesome, raw and healthy coconut products. Fun fact, all their products have 5 or less ingredients.
This product is 100% pure coconut oil. It is sustainably sourced, small batch, chemical- and preservative-free, never heated, and handcrafted.
It has a smooth texture, light fragrance, and slightly sweet taste. It is not nutty or smoky smelling because of the low temperatures by which it was processed.
It works great making your morning coffee bulletproof or your skin baby soft.
- 100% raw
- Great to moisturize hair, face and body
- Wild harvested coconuts are handpicked
- Made using patented NutraLock process (uses cold air instead of heat)
- No chemicals, fillers, solvents or preservatives
- Extremely versatile product
- The narrow packaging can make it difficult to get the last part of oil out (if not melted)
Serving size: 1 tbsp.
Calories: 130 Total fat: 14g Net Carbs: 0g Protein: 0g
Best for: Cooking, baking, maintaining healthy hair and moisturizing skin
2. Kiss My Keto MCT Oil Powder (for coffee)
This is basically a MCT oil powder which works as a creamer. It brings added creaminess to virtually any dish you add it to.
This keto creamer contains high-quality MCT oil - a blend of c8 & c10 caprylic acid, has zero fillers and carbs
I love the flavor of this, it tastes like frosting on the cake, but it's now in my keto coffee.
It's very similar to Bulletproof's Brain Octane oil but it's cheaper and in my opinion tastes better.
This is ideal (the most delicious way) if you want to eat more fat to enter ketosis and burn fat.
- Sweetened with natural Stevia
- Blend of 67% C8 and 33% C10 caprylic acid
- 7g of high-quality fat per serving
- Brings creaminess to any dish added
- Helps to get and maintain ketosis
- An effective source of energy
- Great if you have a sweet tooth
- If used in excess, can cause stomach discomfort (common mct issue)
- Needs a proper stir
- Might be too sweet for some (birthday cake)
Serving size: 1 scoop (10.15g)
Calories: 60 Total fat: 7g Net Carbs: 0g Protein: 0g MCTs: 9000mg
Best for: As a coffee/tea creamer, MCT source in keto baking
3. Nutiva Coconut Oil
Nutiva is a well-known leader in the health food industry and this coconut oil is no exception.
If you value cooking as well as good healthy food products, then the Nutiva Organic Coconut oil is something you may want to look into.
This coconut oil is cold-pressed and NOT refined, deodorized or bleached!
It works as a great cooking oil because it’s non-GMO, trans-fat and cholesterol-free, USDA-certified organic.
It is ideal as a medium-heat cooking oil, a nutritious substitute in baking and as they state by "better than butter". We'll see about that :)
- No cholesterol or trans fat
- Long shelf life
- Good price for an organic product
- Non-GMO, USDA certified 100% organic
- Cold pressed and unrefined
- Excellent butter and shortening substitute for cooking and baking
- Full of lauric acid that promotes a healthy heart and healthy metabolism.
- Excellent for skin, hair and massage oil
- Plastic packaging has gotten some negative feedback (for smaller batches)
Serving size: 1 Tbsp. (15ml)
Calories: 130 Total fat: 14g Net Carbs: 0% Protein: 0g
Best for: Hair conditioner, skin moisturizer, medium-heating cooking oil, body scrub
4. Perfect Keto MCT Oil Powder
Perfect Keto brand is made by ketoers for ketoers. They state that this is the only MCT oil supplement that uses acacia fiber.
Acacia is a probiotic that promotes gut and cell health. The product also blends easily with liquids and is less messy than MCT oil.
This MCT oil powder is made with 100% pure coconut, with 70% C8 and 30% C10 caprylic acid.
Perfect Keto doesn’t contain any additives, fillers, fiber additives or cornstarch. It's another great MCT powder source for your keto kitchen.
It pairs well with almost anything - from your morning coffee to keto cookies and fat bombs.
- Blend of 70% c8 and 30% c10 caprylic acid
- Boosts ketone levels
- No artificial ingredients
- Extensively tested
- Multiple uses in any keto meal plan
- Easily blends with beverages
- Improves mental performance
- Comes in a convenient powder form
- Types of MCTs not listed on the packaging
- Can be pricey for some
Serving size: 1 scoop (approx. 10g)
Calories: 70 Total fat: 7g Net Carbs: 0g Protein: 0g MCTs: 10000mg
Best for: Coffee, tea, or with any other beverage
5. NOW Foods Virgin Coconut Oil
NOW Foods provides several great keto friendly products including Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.
This coconut oil is manufactured using the cold-pressed method - used to preserve the medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Thanks to this process it has ~64% naturally occurring MCTs. It's also unrefined and free of trans fats.
As a coconut oil it's quite versatile, it works great for cooking and baking in place of less healthy cooking oils.
It smells like coconut (not all brands do) and has quite good texture for both cooking and supplementing.
- Not the ideal taste for everyone
Serving size: 1 Tbsp (15 mL)
Calories: 107 Total fat: 14g Net carbs: 0g Protein: 0g
Best for: Skin moisturizer, for baking and cooking, basically works with any food or shake
And now the time has come to announce the winner for the best oil products. For coconut oil, our favorite is Skinny Co. Coconut OIl and for MCT oil, we opted for Kiss My Keto MCT creamer due to their multi-rewarding and beneficial properties and uses.
Coming to this decision wasn’t easy as every other product was great in their right. But we selected our two favorites because of their benefits when it comes to cooking, skincare and coffee making.
Skinny Co. Coconut OIl won because it is made 100% organic coconut oil and is as clean as one coconut oil can get. It's also packed with MCTs that have excellent antibiotic, anti-oxidant and anti-fungal properties.
As for Kiss My Keto MCT Powder, we voted in its favor because it's ideal and the most delicious way to ramp up your fat intake for ketosis. As I have a quite big sweet tooth (yes even while been in ketosis a long time, he love for the sweet taste might be more a mental thing for me I'm afraid) this just tastes great and I'm adding it basically every keto dish.
Alex is the founder of Bodyketosis, an author, low-carb enthusiast, and a recovering chubby guy who reclaimed his health using the ketogenic lifestyle. The need for the keto life began after his aunt and cousin were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and he was next in line. Through personal experience and extensive scientific research, Alex offers insightful tips for everything keto.