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If you go to a shelf of a jar of coconut oils in a grocery store, you notice that they’re usually labeled as ‘refined.’

What is refined RBD coconut oil? Why do coconut oils need to be refined when it’s already ‘fine?’

A jar of coconut oil labeled as ‘refined’ means that the oil had been refined, bleached, and deodorized. Refined coconut oil is otherwise known as RBD coconut oil.

Refined coconut oils are usually made from dried coconut meat or copra. The oil from copra is expelled with the use of a bullock or a machine-driven expeller. Because of how prepared copra is, you’ll understand why it needs to go through refining, bleaching, and deodorizing. The oil expeller isn’t suitable for consumption because it contains impurities that can harm our health when ingested. So, the coconut oil producers remove these impurities by filtration and heat. This will eliminate the harmful agents in the oil. The process of deodorizing the oil removes the distinct smell of coconut.

How do they process the RBD coconut oil?

Free White Liquid on Stainless Steel Spoon Stock Photo

The expelled oil is repeatedly filtrated and bleached using chalky clays to remove impurities. Then it’s heated to a high temperature. This process further removes impurities as well as deodorizes the coconut oil. After this procedure, sodium hydroxide (NaOH2) is added to the oil. Filtration is repeated to eliminate the mono-fats or free fats. Sometimes, the oil is hydrogenated to guarantee that no unsaturated fats are left in the oil. Hydrogenation of coconut oil introduces ‘trans fats,’ which benefit the heart. The overall process also extends the shelf life of coconut oil and prevents it from becoming rancid.

RBD coconut oil is the market’s most widely available coconut oil type. Despite their intensive refinement, they’re sold cheaper than unrefined coconut oils.

RBD coconut oils are very useful in the kitchen because they have a smoking point of about 450°F (232°C). This makes it preferable for cooking at very high temperatures like frying. But they aren’t recommendable for consumption. The proteins and nutrients from coconut are likely decreased because of the way they’re processed.

Is it fine that it’s refined?

There are advantages to this type of coconut oil. RBD coconut oils are more hygienic than unrefined coconut oil because of how it’s processed. The signature scent of coconut is eliminated, giving it a neutral or odorless scent. This is very helpful to those who are picky with food and those who aren’t fond of its smell. What’s amazing about RBD coconut oil is that even though the whole procedure of producing the oil is intense, most of the medium-chain triglycerides are present in this type of oil.

Consumers have different concerns when it comes to consumption. Some say it’s safe for consumption because it’s more hygienic and odorless. Others say it’s not recommendable because the entire process of making RBD coconut oil has robbed it of its nutrients.