It’s come to my attention that Americans ate 5.6 POUNDS of butter in 2012 – marking a 40 year high consumption rate, according to the American Butter Institute. Ok, I’ll give it to you. If you ditched butter for the “healthier” margarine (which now we know isn’t true), and are now going for the real deal, good for you.
But that butter is adding 243mg of cholesterol per stick into your diet. And if you’re one of the Americans eating nearly six pounds of it a year – that adds up to over 1360 mg of cholesterol JUST from the butter. According to Health Aliciousness, butter is actually one of the top five highest foods in cholesterol. Salted butter can also be a source of sodium.
Here’s where really knowing what you’re eating comes into play. Did you know even though coconut oil is a saturated fat it has NO cholesterol? In fact, because it’s plant based it may actually LOWER your LDL, or “bad”, cholesterol. LiveStrong puts this plainly – “Phytosterols are compounds naturally found in plants that reduce the amount of cholesterol your body absorbs, according to Oregon State University’s Linus Pauling Institute. This can reduce blood cholesterol levels, which can help lower the risk of heart disease. Traditional diets, before the advent of processed foods, provided as much as 1000 milligrams of physterols per day. Today, someone eating a typical Western diet consumes less than half that amount. All plant foods provide some phytosterols.”
According to the Linus Pauling Institute, the maximum benefits come from foods with at least .8 grams of plant sterols or stanols. When you look up coconut oil’s full profile on the USDA’s guidelines, you can see it has .86 grams, which fits under the university’s recommendation. Coconut oil has been studied in connection to raising HDL and, in some cases, lowering LDL.
Incorporating coconut oil into your diet by replacing butter and other hydrogenated oils may help your overall cholesterol levels, decrease sodium intake, and may even provide a natural energy boost.
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