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Update on Coconut

Update on Coconut

We’re regularly asked about coconut products, so I thought I’d share with you the food science information we have access to.


Kilojoules Total Fats Saturated Fats
Coconut Oil 100g 3,690 99.7 90.9
Let’s compare this with other fats and oils
Lard 100g 3,670 99.9 41.8
Olive Oil 100g 3,690 99.6 16.6
Butter 100g 3,050 82.1 53.1

You can see it is similar in kilojoules to the other fats and oils, and the main difference is that it is significantly higher in saturated fat. Dr Laurence Eyres, chairman of the Oils & Fats Specialist Group at the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry, is a well-respected authority on all fats and oils. He comments that even if saturated fats turn out to be ‘neutral’ when it comes to heart disease, unsaturated fats, especially the antioxidant-rich oils such as olive oil – are actually protective, so there is good reason to make them your preferred choice.

He also mentions that some of the benefits linked to coconut oil point to it as a source of medium-chain fatty acids (MCTs), a type of fat that is processed differently by the body. Of interest is that lauric acid, a predominant fatty acid in coconut oil, is often cited as a medium-chain fatty acid, but, Eyres says, while “chemically it could be defined as either medium-or long-chain, it behaves like a normal long-chain fatty acid in the body.”

The present recommendation for coconut oil is that it should be used carefully.


Kilojoules Total Fats Saturated Fats
Coconut – fresh 100g 1,450 36 30.9
Coconut – desiccated 100g 2,490 62 53.3
Coconut milk 100mls 819 21.1 16.7
Light coconut milk 100mls 305 7.3 6.7
Coconut cream 100mls 1,050 26 16.4
Light coconut cream 100mls 444 10.5 8.9
Coconut water 100mls 81 0.1 0.1


The lower water content of desiccated coconut compared to fresh, results in a much higher fat and energy content.

There is not a lot of difference in kilojoule count between coconut milk and cream, however the light versions are significantly lower in kilojoules and still provide a good flavour.

Of the many flavoured drinks on the market coconut water would be at the lower end in terms of kilojoules – a glass (250mls) is equivalent in kilojoules to about ½ slice of bread.

There’s a lot of media hype about coconut products but be careful about how you use them.


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