Simple Swaps: Coconut Oil for Vegetable Oil


This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy.

Simple Swaps: Coconut Oil for Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is a sneaky little culprit. It’s in virtually everything nowadays. Flip over a package of any processed foods and more than likely you’ll see it listed as an ingredient. On top of that, you’ve been told it’s “heart healthy” and what you should use to cook with. It even has the word “vegetable” in it, further misleading it’s harmful true identity.

What’s bad about vegetable oil?

Vegetable oils or processed seed oils, which include canola, corn, soybean, sunflower, cottonseed, safflower and a few others contain very large amounts of Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids have been shown to contribute to inflammation in the body. And not so surprisingly, the rise in inflammatory diseases (anything ending in -itis) correlates with our increased consumption of vegetable oil in the last few decades.

Vegetable oils are also highly processed. They go through various stages of high heat, toxic chemicals, solvents and bleach. Believe me when I say, if you really saw how they were processed, you’d never want to consume vegetable oil again.

They’re also high in trans fats, unstable when heated and have been linked to cardiovascular disease and numerous other diseases tied to inflammation, like autoimmune disease.

What’s good about coconut oil?

Coconut oil has numerous health benefits. It contains medium-chain saturated fatty acids, which is a healthy form of saturated fat compared to trans fat. This type of fat is more easily digested and converted into energy for the body and brain.

Coconut oil has a high smoke point and is more stable to cook with. This means that it doesn’t oxidize, go toxic and produce free radicals at high temperature, like vegetable oil.

Coconut oil also has medicinal properties. About 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are from lauric acid. This acid has been shown to kill pathogens like bacteria, viruses, candida and parasites. Lauric acid also boosts your immune system and metabolism.

And while coconut is high in saturated fat, it can actually lower your risk of heart disease.

In addition to the food benefits of coconut oil, coconut oil is also a wonderful skin moisturizer and great for your hair. It’s a healthy eating, healthy living multi-tasker!

Swapping coconut oil for vegetable oil

Coconut oil has a distinctive flavor so start swapping slowly, until you become familiar with the taste. In baking recipes, if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup vegetable oil, start with a 1/4 vegetable oil and 1/4 coconut oil, eventually working up to a full replacement. You can also use coconut oil instead of vegetable oil in your fry pan for chicken or stir fry. Trust me, once you ditch the vegetable oil for good, you’ll never miss it!

What I use and recommend: Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (and it’s on Amazon Prime!)

Do you currently cook with coconut oil? If not, do you think you’ll give it a try now? Share in the comments below!

About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before appearing on the site. Thank you for sharing your feedback!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I always cook with coconut oil and use on my skin and hair. It is a must have. Thank you for sharing the information!!

  2. HI Lisa!

    Love your youtube channel.I searched an article about coconut sugar.I thought you did one.I am not really sure if you did.Should I search more?

    Thank you!

  3. Great post Lisa, I stopped using vegetable oil years ago and pretty much only use coconut oil and a few other good ones. But coconut oil works amazing in baking and it is my only moisturizer! I shared your link in my link love post this week, I hope you don’t mind! Lots of love Lynds xx

    1. Thanks Lyndsey! Ditto here! My main oils are coconut, avocado and olive. But I travel with a mini bottle of coconut oil because as you mentioned, it can be used for everything…including moisturizer! Totally saves on packing space. ;) Thanks for the link share as well! xo