Ketogenic Diet Recipes And Tips

Avocado Oil on a Keto Diet: Is It Worth It?


There’s a huge demand for all things avocado — including avocado oil.

Case in point: the world market for this emerald-hued liquid has reached an impressive US$ 495 million in 2020 and is expected to reach US$ 734 million by 2026 [1]!

Avocado oil’s health benefits and high smoke point are a couple of reasons why it’s seen a boom in popularity. But growing awareness of how important eating high-quality fats is could be at play here, too.

However, this product is pricey. It is sold at double the price of coconut oil and is generally more expensive than other cooking oils.

Knowing this, you’ve probably asked yourself at some point whether this price is justified and what you may gain from adding avocado oil to your keto diet.

To see whether the benefits are worth the splurge, keep reading.

What Is Avocado Oil?

Avocado oil is an edible oil made from the pulp of avocados. It can either be refined or cold-pressed, like many other edible oils. It is bright green in color and usually has a fairly mild taste, although some varieties are said to taste nutty or grassy.

Most avocado oil is produced in New Zealand, Mexico, the U.S, South Africa, and Chile.

The type of avocado used to make the oil will determine its characteristics, like color, flavor, and quality.

What’s interesting about avocado oil is that it is one of the very few oils that are not pressed from seeds but from the pulp of a fruit.

In fact, avocado is the only fruit that has a substantial amount of fat, making it suitable for oil making. This is also why avocado is so popular in keto communities.

Nutrition-wise, avocado oil is similar to olive oil. It is 70% composed of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), while the remaining of it has an equal part saturated and polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) [2, 3]. Avocado oil is also rich in vitamin E and other antioxidants.

Avocado oil vs. Olive oil

Avocado oil and olive oil look the same and share a similar nutritional profile, but there are quite a few differences between the two.

Price

The first difference is the price: avocado oil is sold at double the price of olive oil. Avocado is an expensive fruit, and there are not that many producers of avocado oil vs. olive oil. All these facts play into the final price of the product.

Flavor

The second difference is flavor. Olive oil has a strong fruity to nutty aroma that makes it ideal for some recipes, and not suitable for those that call for neutral oils.

Avocado oil, on the other hand, has a much milder flavor, which makes it a suitable olive oil sub in some  recipes.

Smoke point

A great feature of avocado oil is its high smoke point of  482 °F (250 °C). This makes it suitable for different cooking methods, including sauteing, grilling, roasting, and frying.

In comparison, olive oil’s smoke point is just  374–405°F (190–207°C), which makes it smoke more easily with most cooking methods.

Avocado Oil Benefits on a Keto Diet

Up to 70% of calories come from fat on keto. That’s reason enough to pay special attention to the quality of your fats in this lifestyle.

Specifically, you want fats with loads of health benefits outside of simply being a substrate for ketone production, and avocado oil definitely fits the bill.

First of all, avocado oil is mostly composed of heart-healthy MUFAs, specifically oleic acid. This is the same fatty acid profile of olive oil and the main reason for its beneficial effects on health.

The discovery that MUFAs are good for health comes from the Seven Countries Study carried out in the 1950s 60s. It found that folks living in Mediterranean countries had low rates of heart disease despite their high-MUFA intake [4].

Besides protecting the heart, MUFAs also protect your metabolic health. Studies have found these fats regulate glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity [5]. Researchers explain this is because MUFAs stimulate GLP-1 secretion, which is known to have anti-diabetic effects [6].

Oleic acid was even linked to a reduced risk for several cancers [7]. More specifically, this fatty acid seems to suppress the expression of cancer-causing genes as well as cause cancer cells to die, a process known as apoptosis, through the release of calcium from the cells.

In addition to oleic acid, avocado oil contains a good dose of vitamin E, although slightly less than olive oil. Vitamin E is an antioxidant vitamin, which keeps the oil from going rancid. It also protects the cells in your skin and arteries from oxidative damage [8].

And when tested in human subjects, avocado oil frequently leads to improvements in total cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, blood sugar, and even inflammatory parameters [3].

But There Is a Downside

There’s one slight problem with avocado oil, and it has to do with shoddy practices.

In the first-ever study on commercial avocado oil carried out last year, researchers at UC Davis found that as much as 82% of their test samples were either rancid, adulterated, or complete rip-offs that were 100% soybean oil [9]!

Since there are no set standards in the U.S. that determine what makes for quality avocado oil, nobody is regulating false or misleading labels.

In other words, consumers are not being protected from fraud.

Two brands found to be trustworthy by the UC Davis study were Chosen Foods avocado oil and Marianne’s Avocado Oil, both refined and pure. As for virgin-grade oils, the study found that CalPure was the real deal.

So, Is Avocado Oil Worth It?

If you’re looking for healthy cooking oil that has the benefits of olive oil without the strong flavor and low smoke point, then sure, avocado oil may be worth it.

But if you want to save money, there are cheaper options out there as well.

High-oleic sunflower oils are one example.

Coconut oil has its own unique set of health benefits and costs less.

And olive oil is definitely a great mainstay in healthy cooking — just avoid using it for long cooking at high temperatures.

Also, go for trusted brands to avoid spending money on fraudulent brands.

References:

  1. Global Avocado Oil Market Outlook. Expert Market Research website. Accessed July, 2021. https://www.expertmarketresearch.com/reports/avocado-oil-market
  2. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Oil, avocado. FDC Published Apr 1, 2021.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173573/nutrients
  3. Flores M, Saravia C, Vergara CE, Avila F, Valdés H, Ortiz-Viedma J. Avocado Oil: Characteristics, Properties, and Applications. Molecules. 2019;24(11):2172. Published 2019 Jun 10. doi:10.3390/molecules24112172
  4. The truth about fats: the good, the bad, and the in-between. Harvard Health Publishing website. Dec 11, 2019. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-truth-about-fats-bad-and-good
  5. Gillingham LG, Harris-Janz S, Jones PJ. Dietary monounsaturated fatty acids are protective against metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease risk factors. Lipids. 2011;46(3):209-228. doi:10.1007/s11745-010-3524-y
  6. Rocca AS, LaGreca J, Kalitsky J, Brubaker PL. Monounsaturated fatty acid diets improve glycemic tolerance through increased secretion of glucagon-like peptide-1. Endocrinology. 2001;142(3):1148-1155. doi:10.1210/endo.142.3.8034
  7. Carrillo C, Cavia Mdel M, Alonso-Torre SR. Antitumor effect of oleic acid; mechanisms of action: a review. Nutr Hosp. 2012;27(6):1860-1865. doi:10.3305/nh.2012.27.6.6010
  8. Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS). Vitamin E. Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health website. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/
  9. Hilary S. Green, Selina C. Wang. First report on quality and purity evaluations of avocado oil sold in the US. Food Control. 2020; 116: 0956-7135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2020.107328





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