Every day a new must-try superfood hits supermarket shelves, each with a chorus of health experts and foodies claiming the weight loss and health benefits are out of this world. However, some of them, like coconut oil, are pricy and hard to come by and not everyone likes the taste, which can be troubling for those who want to reap the benefits. Luckily, when it comes to the tropical oil, there’s an easy-to-find alternative: butter.
“Though most people don’t know it, grass-fed butter carries many of the same health benefits as coconut oil and makes for a good alternative,” explains Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. If you’re raising an eyebrow at her suggestion, we understand why. For years the belief was that butter was a dietary bad guy because of its high saturated fat content, but Bjork says that “we now know that the fat in butter is not linked to heart disease.”
Still on the fence? Read on to learn more about how butter stacks up to its trendy tropical rival.
Your body needs fat to heal scrapes, keep your metabolism humming and your brain cells firing—and both butter and coconut oil fit the bill, says Bjork. The primary difference between butter and coconut oil is the types of fats they carry. While butter (1 tbsp, 102 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat) is an excellent source of cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid, coconut oil (1 tbsp, 117 calories, 13 g fat, 11 saturated fat) is rich in the medium-chain saturated fat lauric acid, which converts into energy more easily than other types of fat, ultimately aiding weight loss.
FLAVOR & USE
While both coconut oil and butter have a mild taste, those with sensitive taste buds may detect coconut flavor in the tropical oil (go figure) and describe some types of butter as slightly salty. Despite the slight difference in taste, coconut oil and butter serve similar functions in the kitchen. Both can be used for pan-frying and baking or used to make sauces. The only thing coconut oil can’t be used for is deep-frying as it breaks down when exposed to high temperatures.
Cost is where the two fats really differ. While organic coconut oil costs, on average, 76 cents per ounce (or $10.64 for a 14-ounce container), butter is only 41 cents per ounce (or $3.28 for a 8-ounce box). If you’re trying to save dough, butter is the way to go.