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Butter vs Coconut oil - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on November 29, 2020
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Butter
vs
Coconut oil

Summary

Butter and coconut oil are high caloric foods and are high in saturated fats. While butter is high in cholesterol, coconut oil has negligible amounts of cholesterol. Butter is rich in vitamin A and calcium, while coconut oil has negligible amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Introduction

Butter is a dairy product processed from cow milk. When refrigerated it’s in a solid form, however, at room temperature, it becomes a semi-solid emulsion. It has various forms of usage such as baking, frying, cooking, and used as a spread. Nearly all gastronomic cuisines use butter while preparing dishes.

On the other hand, coconut oil is a plant-based oil. It is the result of the processing of the coconut’s white part known as the flesh. At room temperature, it is in a semi-liquid state, mostly liquid with some solid parts suspended in it. Coconut oil is not as abundant in every region given that it produced from coconuts, a fruit that is found in tropical regions. It is commonly used in Indian and Filipino cuisines as an alternative to butter.

In this article, the nutritional content, health impact, downsides, usage accessibility, and myths will be discussed in detail.

Nutritional content content

Butter is a dairy product that has low amounts of protein 0.9g in 100 grams to be specific. It has high amounts of fats, 81g per 100 grams, of which 50g are saturated fatty acids.

Another aspect that should be considered when consuming butter is the amount of cholesterol in it. Butter contains 215 mg of cholesterol which is 71% of the daily recommended amount.

It is also good to note that butter has 19mg of choline per 100 grams, however, this amount is not remarkable relative to the daily recommended value.

The carbohydrate content in butter is negligible.

When it comes to coconut oil, it is a plant-based oil that contains negligible amounts of cholesterol. However, coconut oil has high amounts for saturated fatty acids at 82g in 100g which is 410% of the daily recommended value. In addition to this, coconut oil is considered to be one of the oils that have remarkable amounts of trans fats.

Similar to butter coconut oil is negligible in its carbohydrate content.

Vitamin content comparison

Butter is considered among foods that contain high amounts of vitamin A at 2500UI. It also contains considerable amounts of vitamin E and K, and a small amount of vitamin B12.

Coconut oil, on the other hand, has negligible amounts of any vitamins.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Butter
10
:
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +2009.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +∞%
Contains more Folate +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin K +1066.7%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 150% 47% 0% 0% 2% 8% 1% 7% 1% 3% 22% 18%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 3% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 2%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin E +2009.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +∞%
Contains more Folate +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +∞%
Contains more Vitamin K +1066.7%

Mineral content comparison

Given that butter is a dairy product, it contains calcium (24 mg per 100g). It also contains selenium and sodium, however, in small amounts.

Coconut oil has a negligible mineral profile.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Calcium +2300%
Contains more Magnesium +∞%
Contains more Phosphorus +∞%
Contains more Potassium +∞%
Contains more Zinc +350%
Contains more Copper +∞%
Contains more Iron +150%
Contains less Sodium -100%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 8% 1% 2% 11% 3% 2% 3% 6%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 1% 2% 0% 0% 0% 0% 1% 0%
Contains more Calcium +2300%
Contains more Magnesium +∞%
Contains more Phosphorus +∞%
Contains more Potassium +∞%
Contains more Zinc +350%
Contains more Copper +∞%
Contains more Iron +150%
Contains less Sodium -100%

Health impact

Butter and coconut oil have linoleic acid as a component in their fat profile. Linoleic acid is known to reduce obesity. (1)

Butter contains butyric acid which has proven to be a very beneficial compound in food intake. Butyric acid consumed by individuals who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), has shown a decrease in symptoms. This is due to the fact that butyric acid has anti-inflammatory and peristalsis inducing characteristics, peristalsis is the activity of pushing food through the digestive system. (2)

Butyric acid is also a beneficial compound for patients who suffer from acute and chronic constipation. (3)

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which is a fatty acid, reduces the risk of developing enlarged prostate and prostatic cancer. (4)

For individuals who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it was observed that a diet with coconut oil showed improvement in the main cognitive functions. (5)

Downsides

Butter and coconut oil are among foods that contain high amounts of saturated fatty acids, they lead to increased concentration of Low-density lipoproteins in the blood (LDL). For individuals who have a family history or already diagnosed with blood lipid disorders should be careful while consuming butter and coconut oil. (6)(7)

Butter and coconut oil are considered to be high caloric foods. Butter has 717 calories per 100g and coconut oil has 862 calories per 100g. So while consuming both, butter or coconut oil, one must be careful of the daily caloric intake.

Usage and accessibility

Butter has different usages in cuisines. For instance, it can be used as a spread accompanied by bread and jam. However, the content of carbohydrates from the jam and bread, and the content of saturated fats from the butter should be taken into consideration.
Butter can also be used for cooking purposes, sauce making, and pan-frying.

Coconut oil can be used for cooking purposes as a vegan alternative to butter. It is also used for cooking and making vegan mayonnaise.
Coconut oil has an additional advantage on butter since it can be safely used for cooking at high temperatures.

Another aspect of coconut oil is that it can be used as a skin moisturizer and protection against UV. Even though using coconut oil as moisturiser has no nutritional benefits, it has medical importance.

Myths

Coconut oil is a healthy and safe oil to consume

Coconut oil is famously used in the vegan community and individuals who follow the keto diet. It is claimed to be a healthy fat to consume. However, if coconut oil is not consumed in moderate amounts, 2-3 tablespoons a day at most, it increases the risk of high LDL concentrations in the blood.

Replace carbohydrates with fats

This is highlighted in the keto community mostly. When carbohydrates are eliminated from the diet and replaced with fats which are mostly saturated fats like butter or coconut oil it increases the risks of cardiovascular disease. (8)

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4574006/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4027835/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5497138/#cit0020
  4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6201718
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30056419/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26135349/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29974400/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492032/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: November 29, 2020

Infographic

Butter vs Coconut oil infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Butter Coconut oil
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in glycemic index Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Butter Coconut oil Opinion
Net carbs 0.06g 0g Butter
Protein 0.85g 0g Butter
Fats 81.11g 99.06g Coconut oil
Carbs 0.06g 0g Butter
Calories 717kcal 892kcal Coconut oil
Starch g g
Fructose g g
Sugar 0.06g 0g Coconut oil
Fiber 0g 0g
Calcium 24mg 1mg Butter
Iron 0.02mg 0.05mg Coconut oil
Magnesium 2mg 0mg Butter
Phosphorus 24mg 0mg Butter
Potassium 24mg 0mg Butter
Sodium 11mg 0mg Coconut oil
Zinc 0.09mg 0.02mg Butter
Copper 0.016mg 0mg Butter
Vitamin A 2499IU 0IU Butter
Vitamin E 2.32mg 0.11mg Butter
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 0mg 0mg
Vitamin B1 0.005mg 0mg Butter
Vitamin B2 0.034mg 0mg Butter
Vitamin B3 0.042mg 0mg Butter
Vitamin B5 0.11mg 0mg Butter
Vitamin B6 0.003mg 0mg Butter
Folate 3µg 0µg Butter
Vitamin B12 0.17µg 0µg Butter
Vitamin K 7µg 0.6µg Butter
Tryptophan 0.012mg 0mg Butter
Threonine 0.038mg 0mg Butter
Isoleucine 0.051mg 0mg Butter
Leucine 0.083mg 0mg Butter
Lysine 0.067mg 0mg Butter
Methionine 0.021mg 0mg Butter
Phenylalanine 0.041mg 0mg Butter
Valine 0.057mg 0mg Butter
Histidine 0.023mg 0mg Butter
Cholesterol 215mg 0mg Coconut oil
Trans Fat g 0.028g Butter
Saturated Fat 50.489g 82.475g Butter
Monounsaturated Fat 23.43g 6.332g Butter
Polyunsaturated fat 3.01g 1.702g Butter

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Butter Coconut oil
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
21
Butter
0
Coconut oil
Mineral Summary Score
4
Butter
0
Coconut oil

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
5%
Butter
0%
Coconut oil
Carbohydrates
0%
Butter
0%
Coconut oil
Fats
374%
Butter
457%
Coconut oil

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Coconut oil
Coconut oil is lower in Sugar (difference - 0.06g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains less Sodium (difference - 11mg)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Coconut oil
Coconut oil is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 215mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Butter
Butter is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 31.986g)
Which food is cheaper?
Butter
Butter is cheaper (difference - $0.6)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Butter
Butter is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Butter
Butter is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (0)

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Butter - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173430/nutrients
  2. Coconut oil - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171412/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.