Is avocado oil the new coconut oil? We asked a dietitian

It’s lower in saturated fat

Supposedly, avocado oil is the coconut oil of 2016. It’s cheaper, has seven times less saturated fat per 100 grams, and it is all over Instagram. But is it actually healthy and beneficial for you, or is it just another fad that will die out as quickly as the Harlem Shake did? We asked a dietitian Clare James RD to find out.

What are the benefits of avocado oil?

Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fat, which is a healthy substitute to fats found in coconut oil and animal products. However, gram for gram it contains the same number of calories as other oils. So, like any source of fat, it should be limited if your goal is to lose weight. Some brands of avocado oil claim to provide a source of Vitamin E, around 20 per cent of your RDA in about a tablespoon.

How do you use it?

You can use it for cooking, eating and on your skin and hair too. Although it has a high smoke point suggesting it can be heated to high temperatures, some research has shown that it behaves much the same as olive oil when it is used in cooking. You can also use it in salad dressings, marinades and sauces as its flavour is quite subtle.

How does it compare to other oils?

Avocado oil has a fairly similar fat profile to olive oil making it a healthy choice. Despite its popularity, Coconut oil is much higher in saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol levels increasing the risk of heart disease.

Where can you buy it?

It is available in several major supermarkets so should be relatively easy to buy. It is also sold for cosmetic use on skin and hair so is available at most health retailers.

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Would you recommend it?

Not above any other oils containing monounsaturated fats, such as Olive Oil which is cheaper and easier to buy. Saying that, avocado oil can make an interesting addition to sauces and salad dressings so might make a welcome gift for culinary inspired friends!

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