Sure you’ve heard several things about coconut oil and how it’s processed. But do you know they come in different kinds? Yes, they do. Coconut oil types differ on the way it’s produced. You need to purchase the right type of coconut oil depending on how you plan to use it.

Coconut oil has gained popularity throughout the years because of its numerous health benefits.

In this article, we’ll help you differentiate between the types of coconut oil and help you choose what’s best for you.

The broad types of coconut oil are the refined and unrefined coconut oils, and you’ll know their sub-types as we go on.

Refined Coconut Oil

Derived from dried coconut meat or ‘copra,’ refined coconut oil is also called as an ‘RBD oil.’ RBD stands for refined, bleached and deodorized oil. Since the dried copra isn’t suitable for consumption, it goes through a process of refining, bleaching and deodorizing. The coconut needs to undergo these procedures to remove the contaminants it might get from the drying process.

Producing refined coconut oil is a good way to produce coconut oil massively. Going through the process will lose the coconut taste and therefore makes the refined coconut oil ideal for deep-frying. It’s best used externally.

Here are the sub-types of refined coconut oil:

  • Hydrogenated Coconut Oil – This type of refined coconut oil isn’t edible. Better stay away from it if you’re planning to take coconut oil orally. It has gone through a hydrogenation process wherein unsaturated fatty acids are converted into saturated fats, or trans-fat. It may cause heart disease or stroke. Regular intake may lead to weight gain and worse, obesity.
  • Expeller-pressed Coconut Oil – This type of refined coconut oil is extracted by going through a mechanical ‘physical refining’ from coconut’s dried meat at a high temperature.
  • Liquid Coconut Oil – This type of edible refined coconut oil stays liquid even if you place it inside your fridge. It’s the newest type of refined coconut oil that was discovered in 2013. It’s a fractionated coconut oil with lauric acid removed, which is supposedly coconut oil’s star component.

Unrefined Coconut Oil

Unrefined coconut oil is produced from a fresh coconut meat. It’s usually termed as ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’ coconut oil. It has no added chemicals and flavor. Its scent is mostly retained because it didn’t go through a process with a high temperature. The oil is safe to consume, and the nutrients are retained because it didn’t go through other processes like the refined ones.

It goes through two broad ways of production.

  • Pressing oil from the dried coconut – This method starts by drying the fresh coconut meat and then it’s pressed to extract the oil. The procedure is the most common way to produce virgin or extra virgin coconut oil.
  • Wet-milling process – In this process, the oil comes from the fresh coconut meat. It doesn’t go through a drying process. Coconut milk is extracted first from the fresh coconut meat. Then the oil is separated from the milk. The method includes some boiling, fermentation, adding enzymes or centrifuge.
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