Choices, choices, choices.

phytosterol choices

We all have them, make them, and want more to choose from. 

So do I. 

After my recent posts about coconut oil, I received several questions asking, “Are there any oils that are better choices than others or better than coconut oil?”

The issue that made me rethink the use and endorsement of coconut oil was explicitly about the amount of plant cholesterol it contains as phytosterols.

All plants and plant-based foods, ingredients, or products, have sterols. Sterols are found in higher amounts in certain products when refined, like oils, flour, or any concentrated products like nut butter, dried herbs, and spices. 

The vegetable/seed oil list I have in the graphic for this post is not all-inclusive and doesn’t mean that any oil not listed is free of sterols. It’s just not on the list.

You can see a significant difference in the phytosterol numbers across the list.

  • Camellia or teanut oil from Japan has the least phytosterols at 142, and the highest is rice bran oil at 1891. 
  • Coconut oil is the fourth highest, around 800; olive oil is in the bottom quarter at 288.
  • Avocado oil comes in around 370. 

I only used peer-reviewed published articles when looking up these numbers. Still, I found numbers all over the place using different measurements and percentages depending on what they were trying to make the data look like. 

It’s sad, but scientific bias and financial influence impact everything. Be aware, and learn to read studies and research to come to your conclusion, even if it differs from theirs. 

In anticipation of the questions that will inevitably follow in the comments, here’s what I use.

I use bacon fat for medium to high heat (not high enough to fry), butter at low heat, and olive oil for taste and dressing meals. 

I would still choose coconut oil if I used any of these oils to cook with, but very infrequently. 

My announcement to no longer endorse coconut oil was to remove it from the health-food list I use personally and in my programs.

Our choices are just that personal, made for our situation and goals and based on our values.

My choices do not change the biochemistry and physiology of consuming these oils or making other diet or lifestyle decisions. 

People ask me daily what I eat, if I would map out an ideal day’s meals, or share my workout strategy and breakdown. I get it. I asked many questions along the way and will continue to do so. 

What I do or what you or any other person does isn’t a recommendation for anyone else, nor does it mean that it is appropriate for someone else who reads about it to think they can or should do the same. I am not completely sure my decisions are appropriate for me half the time!

Learn why people do what they do, how and when they do it, and then see how you can adapt it if desired, make it yours, and follow your values, goals, and lifestyle.

So there you go. Check out where your favorite oil falls on the list and decide what you will do. If you want more info on plant cholesterol and phytosterols, scroll back on my posts recently and check them out.

Keep following, joining my Facebook group, “Insulin Friendly Fasting Secrets,” and keep learning, trying, and adapting to this world we all live in, and as you do, please share what you learn!

We can do better!

Dr. Don