I'm reading a lot of folks talk about eating a tablespoon of coconut oil here and there throughout the day to keep them going. I can't get myself to do that, the taste and texture don't work for me in that way.
Coconut BUTTER, on the other hand, is a different story. I haven't seen a lot of talk on here about coconut butter so I'm hoping there's no harm done in asking a few Qs about it.
Coconut butter is like coconut oil but it also contains some of the coconut meat itself. Ingredients (in Artisana brand): "100% organic raw coconut." Nutrition facts per 2 Tbsp: 153 fat cals (17g fat), 2g protein, 7g carbs, 5g of which is dietary fiber. So 2g net carbs.
Seems like one could practically live off the stuff. When I first got this jar, the consistency was a tiny bit closer to coconut oil -- translucent -- and the taste was a little closer to coconut oil. I noticed that close to the top of the jar there were some whiter areas that tasted a lot sweeter, and then the fresh stuff was less sweet.
A couple of weeks later I went back into the jar and the whole thing was now whiter and sweeter. I ate several tablespoons throughout the day yesterday and it felt like I was eating dessert. I couldn't believe that what I was eating was only 2g net carbs and 17g good fats. This stuff is just too good to be true, there must be a catch.
Here are my questions:
Is it possible/probable that in those 2 weeks the coconut butter oxidized and now has a lot more sugar (net carbs) than displayed on the label?
Is it erroneous for me to count only the 2g of net carbs in thinking about how low-carb this substance is? I haven't gotten my mind around soluble vs. insoluble fiber enough yet to know which one would be in coconut butter and whether that makes a difference in counting carbs here (2g versus 7g).
Anyone else eat a lot of coconut butter and/or have other things to share about it? I can't quite figure out why so many people would be gaga for snacking on plain coconut oil (blech, to me) and not many talking about its more delicious cousin coconut butter.
To answer question one, I don't think that your coconut butter is "oxidizing". The fat in coconut is mostly saturated, so as long as you aren't burning the crap out of it, it is stable for quite a long time. However, coconut butter can separate out into layers if it melts and re-solidifies. You are probably seeing "whiter" areas that are more concentrated coconut meal with a higher percentage of carbohydrate as well as the translucent areas that are primarily fat (i.e. coconut oil) and therefore less sweet. If you buy it again, you can warm up the entire jar (sitting it outside in the sun will probably do the trick, although I use a warm water bath over the stove) and stir it up to create a more homogenous mixture.
I agree with the previous posts comments regarding the type of carbohydrate that is in coconut. It likely that it is primarily insoluble fiber because you can chew and chew and chew coconut and it doesn't dissolve, it just breaks down into smaller pieces. The reason being that the enzyme amylase in our saliva would dissolve soluble fiber (think apples and bananas) as well as starches (like bread, rice, or potatoes) easily.
I do enjoy coconut butter, but primarily use it to make paleo friendly treats/desserts. My go-to coconut product is coconut oil or straight up coconut flakes. I rarely eat coconut oil (or flakes for that matter) plain (see the thread "Eating Raw Coconut Oil for energy") as I usually doctor them up with other ingredients.
Here are some pics/examples of coconut butter recipes...
Coconut butter with instant expresso (aka Coco-Mocho Bark)
Bacon dipped in coconut butter (aka Coconut Butter Bacon Chips)
Chicken breast slathered in unsweetened chocolate and coconut butter (aka Holy Moley)
I'm a huge fan of "whole" coconut products - coconut butter, coconut flakes, creamed coconut, and of course fresh coconut flesh. They're super nutritious and I treat them like a real food, unlike coconut oil, which I use as a cooking oil. My lunch usually consists of a big salad and a generous serving of coconut flesh or coconut butter. I don't think I could live without coconut, nut of the gods (uh, that sounded weird). ;)
I don't think oxidation would create more sugar. It probably has something to do with the carb part of the coconut getting mixed in better after a couple of weeks.
Coconut fiber is mostly insoluble. Yes, you're right in thinking coconut butter is low-carb. Watch out for coconut butters with added sugar though.
See my opening paragraph.
I have been making my own coconut butter for some time. Instead of using coconut flakes, go to an Indian grocery and buy coconut powder. The bag I buy is only labeled generically - no brand name. It's much less expensive than anything you will get at WF or other specialty grocery store, and there is nothing in it but coconut. I paid $10 for a 2-pound bag of coconut powder, which will make the equivalent of 6-7 16-oz jars of the $15.00 stuff. In addition, a good bit of the hard work is already done for you, because it is already finely ground. All that's left is to do the final grind that releases the oil from the powder.
I use my Vitamix to grind it. I add nothing - no oil, no salt, certainly no sweetener....just the coconut powder, and it's absolutely wonderful (but it takes a bit of patience to get it all incorporated and liquefied). The Vitmaix will heat it for you, which helps in releasing the oil. If you have a food processor it will work as well, but might take a bit more patience. It is, in addition, much smoother than the "Let's Do" brand, which is IMO somewhat gritty. It's much more like the Tropical Traditions brand, which is my favorite -and most expensive - brand of coconut butter. It lasts a long time in the cabinet, unrefrigerated, if you can make it last that long :-)
Don't know where you live, but here in Texas, even with the A/C on, most coconut products are liquid in my house this time of year. This makes it the ideal time to work with them. In the winter, I have to take the additional step of warming them all up.
I love coconut butter, but it is very difficult to find. Personally, I would buy it more often (and it would probably be talked about more) if it were more readily available and a bit less expensive. The only brand I have tried or have seen it in is the Artisana (the brand you mentioned), and around here it is about $15 a jar. Once I get a jar, it is gone in a few days! It is just too good.
I love coconut butter. It is possible to make homemade coconut butter - http://www.theclothesmakethegirl.com/2011/02/22/homemade-coconut-butter-f-yeah/ (I did this without adding anything at all, only the shredded coconut)
Note that the homemade coconut butter consistency is grittier than the artisana or nutiva - I'm guessing that the artisana brand is made from non-dried coconut meat and/or has a more thorough blending process.
Regardless, it is significantly less expensive (~.5 lb of organic shredded coconut made ~12oz of butter - I think that was about $1.50 from the WF bulk bins). So if you're using it in cooking (or just like the gritter texture) it may be a decent substitute. Certainly cheaper!
(I think I'll still stick with artisana for eating from the jar, though!)
Coconut Butter is the only thing no one should feel guilty upon binging on it. Cashew butter, almond butter, ok, those can be a bit tricky if you abuse them (I've ate half of 1lb jars more than once but hey...).
CB on the other hand is just... healthy: tasty, fibrous and the benefitial fats from coconut.
So for all coconut butter fans:
Love this stuff! Too bad it's almost $11 a jar; I make home made protien bars with this stuff when I mix a little whey protien with the melted coconut and almond butter and a few other things!
The only thing that I can think that is wrong with coconut butter is the outstanding price!
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