What are coconut butter benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are coconut butter pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers.
Food is something we consume every day. If you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on coconut butter benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about coconut butter benefits and side effects. This will include coconut butter benefits for your health and potential risks, coconut butter water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if coconut butter is vegan or impacts animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if coconut butter is good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about coconut butter benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Top Coconut Butter Benefits And Side Effects
Energy: coconut butter is good for / helps athletic performance boost, boost metabolism, consistency in bowel movements, feelings of fullness longer, increase energy levels, regulate blood sugar levels
Longevity: coconut butter is good for / helps boost immunity, destroys harmful bacteria, viruses, and funguses, lower cholesterol, prevent disease, ward off viruses
Appearance: coconut butter is good for / helps condition hair dandruff prevention, hair growth *when applied topically, weight loss
Additionally, coconut butter is…
- Gluten Free
- Not a common Food Allergen
- Note: Coconuts are not “nuts” and therefore do not effect those with nut allergies
Coconut butter side effects:
- pesticide consumption if not organic
- do not over-consume, be sure to eat in moderation as with any food
Water footprint: likely moderate, 4,490 liters of water used to produce 1 kilogram of coconut oil / 538 gallons of water used to produce 1 pound of coconut oil
Carbon footprint: likely moderate, 2.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of coconut oil, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers
Destruction: moderate, coconut butter production is relatively sustainable, there is no significant damage to air or water but land, soil and forests may be affected, growing coconuts doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides, and coconuts are harvested by hand, instead of by tractor, however monoculture farming is an issue where coconuts are grown, this means deforestation and farmers replacing native plants and biodiversity to meet the demand for coconuts, can reduce soil quality and ultimately lead farmers to use chemical fertilizers to boost their productivity *be sure to buy organic and sustainably sourced coconut butter
Coconut butter is…
- Moderately Sustainable
Kills: none, coconut butter production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, coconut butter production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: possibly monkeys, in some regions of the world (notably Thailand) monkeys are intentionally bred and trained to harvest coconuts, they may be punished, are always tethered to their handler and are not permitted to eat the coconuts they collect, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
Coconut butter is…
- May involve monkeys to harvest coconuts
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May have laborer issues
Where does most coconut butter come from?
Indonesia is the world’s leading producer of coconuts followed by Philippines, India and Brazil.
Coconut butter versus coconut oil:
Coconut oil is made entirely of (mostly saturated) fat whereas coconut butter, made from a whole coconut, contains saturated fat but also nutrients like fiber.
Is coconut butter nutritious?
Coconut butter is high in fiber and rich in minerals including potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, healthy fats and no cholesterol but does contain saturated fat.
Coconut butter substitute:
While difficult to match exactly, the best coconut butter substitutes include nut butters like peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter.
What are coconut butter uses?
Edible uses for coconut butter include adding to hot beverages like coffee, tea, and hot chocolate, add it to smoothies, add creaminess to recipes, add to oatmeal, add to desserts. Coconut butter can also be used topically to moisturize the face, lips, hair and skin.
coconut butter is gluten free.
Is coconut butter gluten free? Yes, coconut butter is gluten free. Coconut butter does not contain gluten.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include: recurring abdominal pain, chronic diarrhea, constipation, tingling, numbness in hands and feet, chronic fatigue, joint pain, unexplained infertility and low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis).
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
coconut butter is not a common food allergen.
Is coconut butter a common food allergen? No, coconut butter is not a common food allergen. Coconuts are drupes, not actual nuts. Some people may experience allergic reactions to coconuts but it is not part of the big 8 food allergen categories.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
- crustacean shellfish
- tree nuts
These foods account for about 90% of all food allergies in the United States.
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
coconut butter likely has a moderate water footprint.
Does coconut butter have a high or low water footprint? Coconut butter likely has a low water footprint.
What is the water footprint of coconut butter? It takes 4,490 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of coconut oil / 538 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of coconut oil.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource?
We must do what we can to conserve fresh water and a major way to reduce needless water consumption is to change the way we eat. That’s not to say we need to reduce our water intake….quite the opposite. It’s important for our health to drink lots of water and eat foods that hydrate. The kind of water conservation we’re talking about here is behind the scenes.
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of “water footprints”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Check It Out! – Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
coconut butter likely has a moderate carbon footprint.
Does coconut butter have a high or low carbon footprint? Coconut butter likely has a moderate carbon footprint.
What is the carbon footprint of coconuts? It takes around 2.1 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of coconut oil, a car driving equivalent of 5 miles or 8 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
There are a number of steps to reduce energy output. According to Oxford Martin School researchers, if the world went vegan, eliminating animal-derived products, it could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two thirds and avoid climate damages of $1.5 trillion.
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Check It Out! – Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
coconut butter is moderately sustainable.
Overall, is coconut butter eco friendly? Is coconut butter sustainable? Coconut production is moderately sustainable.
There is no significant damage to air or water but land, soil and forests may be affected. Growing coconuts doesn’t require pesticides or herbicides and coconuts are harvested by hand, instead of by tractor. However, monoculture farming is an issue where coconuts are grown, which means deforestation and farmers who replace native plants and biodiversity to meet the demand for coconuts. This can reduce soil quality and ultimately lead farmers to use chemical fertilizers to boost their productivity. Be sure to buy organic and sustainably sourced coconut products.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world the worst impacts of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
coconut butter is vegan but monkeys may harvest coconuts.
Is coconut butter vegan? Yes, coconut butter is vegan. Coconut butter is made from dried coconuts that have been pureed into a paste and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. However, it should be noted that in Thailand and some other countries monkeys are likely used to harvest coconuts.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
coconut butter is a product that may or may not have labor issues.
Is coconut butter a product that has known labor issues? At this time, there are no known specific reports of worker mistreatment regarding coconut farming but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Coconuts may or may not have labor issues.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Sadly, many labor concerns exist around the world in both developed and developing countries. We must be vigilant to ensure what we buy is not contributing to industries that are unfair to their valuable workers. Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
coconut butter – FoodData Central
Coconut Brands That Don’t Support Monkey Labor | PETA Asia