From A-Z on coconut oil

This article is huge larger than you imagine, but worth your time. Whyis that?

The writer in this story, Brian Shilhavy, lived with his family in the Philippines for a number of years. There was a coconut oil manufacturing facility close to where he resided. It is also the source of his best-selling book “First-Press Coconut Oil: Why It Transformed people’s lives and how it can change yours!”

My wife and I sent the the first “virgin coconut oil” from the Philippines to the United States in 2001, there were two similar products that were labeled edible on the American market. Coconut oil wasn’t a popular product at the time and that’s why there wasn’t a lot of choice. If you were taking it as a diet product at the time you likely got all the facts about oils and fats through the Dr. Mary Enig. Dr. Enig has been advocating for saturated fats as well as defending trans fats since before everyone else began booing inaccurate information coming out of an U.S. edible oil industry. A lot of her views were covered by the Weston Price Foundation publications over time, and we also published her research on

In the early days of 2015 in the early 2015, when you’re looking to buy coconut oil, there’s numerous options available. This is what I’m planning to provide: I’m going provide you with an insider’s view at the market today but without mentioning particular brands. This amazing product isn’t manufactured in the same manner it is, so you must select based on the method you intend to make use of it.

First, to choose which coconut oil is suitable for the best for you, you must to understand what kind of coconut oil you are using and what makes one different from the others.

Let’s start!

Refined in comparison to. the coconut oil that was first pressed

There are two primary kinds of coconut oil. the one produced industrially and then needs the need to refine, as well as one which is made with fresh coconuts and is a lesser level of refinement. It is true, you have read it right. It is refined.

Coconut oil is a refined product, since it doesn’t originate from trees like coconuts do. Therefore, it has to be extracted from coconuts that are whole which means that technically the only real “unrefined” coconut oil available is the one that is in the fresh harvested nuts.

The term used to describe its most refined form is “virgin coconut oil. In the beginning of 2000 it was the term that was used to refer to the most refined form of coconut oil and was also utilized for various edible oils.

“Virgin” as a definition “virgin” was initially formulated within an online discussion group we run in which a wide range of contributors have contributed their ideas to this definition such as academics, insiders from the industry, and many others. The definition that we all agreed on was that only coconut oils would qualify as “virgin” that weren’t made using dried “copra.”

“Copra” is the industrial term employed to describe the Philippines for peeled and dried coconut. Coconut is not edible and must be further processed in order to make coconut oil. “Copra” is obtainable using a variety of methods, including sun drying, smoke drying, oven drying. There are also variants of each of these methods , or the combination of these methods. What they do all have one thing in common, which is that they item currently isn’t suitable for consumption and requires further processing. It has a smoky smell, is dirty-smelling – generally even though the product is copra in its form, it doesn’t look like anything else in the least. Copra can also be considered a commodity with its own price on the market, with its own market niche, distinct from coconuts as well as coconut oil (the end product). In the countries where coconuts are produced there are dealers and traders who specialize in copra and market copra to producers of coconut oil. The copra is also shipped to diverse countries which includes those in the United States, where it is processed for manufacturing for production purposes.

Let’s examine the various kinds of coconut oil that are refined on the market currently.

Coconut oils refined

In countries that produce coconut refined coconut oils made from copra are typically known as RBD which means refined, bleached, and deodorized. “Bleached” is typically not an actual Chemical process but rather a filtering process to eliminate impurities. A specific “bleaching clay” is employed for this process. If the oil was originally derived from copra, it’s cleaned out of its odor using steam. This means that the product produced has only a slight flavor, and little or any odor.

A popular misconception online is that only coconut oil made from virgin coconut is healthy however refined coconut oils aren’t and could be harmful to your health in any point. Actually, this isn’t true but there are a few exceptions, which I’ll talk about in a moment. RBD coconut oil has been available on the market for a long time. They are the primary food oils used by millions of people living in tropical climates across the globe. It is important to note that the RBD refining process is not able to alter the fatty acids nature of the product to ensure that all medium-chain fatty acids stay intact.

What refining processes eliminate certain nutrients. The oils made from virgin coconuts exhibit more antioxidants when tested for instance. This doesn’t mean it any less healthy than its RBD cousins “unhealthy.”

Below are the kinds of coconut oil that available in the marketplace currently:

Coconut Oils that have been expeller-pressed.

They are usually RBD coconut oils made in tropical regions through the mechanical process of “physical refining” of copra. Physical refining is thought to be “cleaner” as opposed to chemical refining, which makes use of extraction solvents, such as “hexane.”

In reality in practice, the “expeller pressing” process of making is typically mentioned on packages of virgin products and also. It is, as I’ve come to understand it, is similar to an auger found in juicers meaning that the squeeze is performed in a helical way. Both fresh and copra coconuts may be squeezed using it. Take note: “Useful Shopping”.

Coconut Oil.

If there’s any specification, and the word “coconut oil” is just used and is not a specific term, then it likely is in that RBD category. It is worth noting the fact that it is a commodity which is exported into the United States, where companies make use of it for non-food uses usually to make detergent and cleaning products, for instance. With the recent trend of coconut oil in the field of nutrition certain of these big American manufacturing companies are now beginning to sell their product as food-grade. It’s possible to conclude that these oils that are less expensive are made using solvents for extraction. We’re not sure if some of the solvents will remain in the final product however, if you want to ensure that they’re not present, it’s better buying coconut oil that’s been refined with no solvents.

Hydrogenated Coconut Oil

This is one item which you should avoid. A small amount of unsaturated fatty acids have been hydrogenated, which results in trans fats. This allows coconut oil to be solid even in higher temperatures. We haven’t yet seen this kind of product on the U.S. edible oil market. If it is available it’s likely to be utilized to make an ingredient for confectionery production in the tropical regions. The standard RBD coconut oil is an inert state at 24-25 degrees Celsius however in the tropical regions, the temperature is much higher all the time. So, to maintain its solidity in higher temperature, it’s hydrogenated prior to being added to baked goods or candies or transformed into margarine.

Liquid Coconut Oil (liquid)

The latest product to be sold in supermarkets during 2013 included “liquid coconut oil” It’s advertised as “one that remains liquid in the fridge”. While it appears to be new within the edible oils section however, it’s not an original product. It’s an “fractionated oil” that is made from lauric acid has been eliminated. It’s also referred to as “MST oil. In the past , it was often used in products for skin care, but in recent years, it has become well-known as a food supplement too. The refined substance which is now being promoted as a healthy oil. Actually, it is a product from producing lauric acids. Lauric acid is recognized as an antimicrobial that is powerful which is why it is extensively used as a preservative in a variety of different types of production. Since it is a saturated fatty acid that makes up around 50% of the coconut oil, when it’s eliminated, you’re only left with liquid that has lower melting points. If you find the product on the internet or in a retail shop, be aware that it’s highly refined and does not contain the main ingredient of coconut oil, lauric acid.

Virgin coconut oil

As I stated above the common denominator the method by which virgin quality is established is that the oil is derived from fresh coconuts and not copra. There isn’t a certified body around the globe that certifies or defines coconut oils to be “virgin” as well as “not pure,” so anyone can utilize the term and use it on their labels in the event that they want to. The first thing you should be looking for when selecting the first-press coconut oil is whether it is made from copra. If the base ingredient is copra then you’re not getting the original product, but rather an RBD-refined one with a clever label.

Extra Virgin coconut oil

The phrase “extra virgin coconut oil” or “extra virgin coconut oil” is commonly used. Which is better than “virgin” or “extra virgin”?

There is nothing. There’s no universally accepted definition of”extra virgin” as there is no universally accepted definition for “extra” virgin category as it are the case for olive oil. It’s a term used to market and that’s all it is.

If we take a look at the coconut oils made by first pressing that are available on the market (among those which are labeled “extra virgin”) We have two main ways of production:

  1. The oil extracted by drying coconuts.This method involves drying the coconut pulp that is fresh is first dried , and only later is the oil extracted from it. This technique makes it simpler to manufacture large quantities for the item. Since the industry of drying coconuts has grown in the countries where coconut is produced, many of the companies involved in this sector have included coconut oil in their line of products.

This is by far the most commonly used kind of coconut oil that is labeled “virgin” or “extra virgin” that you can purchase on the internet and in shops in the present. It is produced in mass quantities however, it is of better in quality than RBD grade due to the fact that it is made with fresh coconuts instead of copra.

  1. The coconuts are harvested using the “wet-milling” method.This method removes the oil from the coconut’s pulp without drying them first. In the beginning, the “coconut milk” is extracted by squeezeing it from the wet, fresh pulp. After that, the oil gets separated from the liquid. Methods to do this include fermentation, boiling or refrigeration, the application of enzymes and mechanical centrifugation.

Fortunately the coconut oil-producing countries have been doing some study in the past few years. They’ve begun to realize that Western recommendations regarding dietary fats that has caused the stigmatization of their traditional fats and oils , such like coconut oil is mostly politically motivated and not scientific.

In recent years, the majority of their research has focused in the field of cardiovascular disease and cholesterol since this is the field that has been the primary subject for Western attacks. They’ve realized that their old-fashioned oils and fats are more healthy than the new arrivals of soybeans and corn. These are two cereals which are heavily subsidized by the U.S. government, which reduces the cost of food. We have a large portion of the results on our website on The study proved that coconut oil not just doesn’t increase blood cholesterol levels, but it actually lowers them.

Researchers from the universities of India, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and India investigated different methods to produce coconut oil. It was at first difficult to figure out what was that could be measured in the lab to determine if the unrefined product was superior to conventional RBD refinements. It was soon apparent that there was still a measure that could be determined and used to determine whether one oil was superior to other oils antioxidant levels. The antioxidant content was greater in coconut oil that was virgin particularly when using the “wet grind” method previously described.

A study of coconut oil virgin “wet grind”

As we have discussed In the process of making coconut oil through “wet grinding” the oil is taken using a wet mixture, also known as “milk,” rather than pressing coconuts that have been dried.

What kind of “wet milling” produces the best grade of virgin product? According to numerous studies, it’s this “wet milling” fermentation process that makes use of the heat. It’s the simplest method to extract coconut oil that people who live in tropical areas have employed within their homes for centuries.

The fermentation process begins by producing coconut milk made from freshly grated coconuts. It is then left to ferment for a few hours (apparently which means ferment – see “Useful shopping”) typically over night. The more heavy water slowly falls to at the base of the vessel leaving a transparent layer of oil that has coconut pieces on top. Then it is taken away and put in a vessel like an enormous wok. It is then it is heated until the coconut particles fall into at the base of the vessel. It is then cleaned.

The first study to examine the production of virgin coconut oil was carried out by the 2008 study in Malaysia and was published in International Journal of Food Science Nutrition. This was the only study that could reveal that it was an enzyme-based “wet milling” method that gave the most antioxidants.

Research carried out on Sri Lanka by Professor Kapila Seneviratne from the University of Kelaniya also showed that the traditional “wet grind” coconut oil was a source of the highest concentrations of antioxidants.

The interesting thing about this study was heating that increased quantity of antioxidants. In the past (and today – refer to “Useful purchases”) there was generally believed that high temperatures could cause harm to coconut oil. That’s why many manufacturers advertise their products in the form of “raw” or “cold-pressed” in their labels, and didn’t heating it at all (no warming). Here’s the contents of what The Sunday Times of Sri Lanka stated in the year 2000:

“More surprises were in store for the team of researchers. There is a widespread belief that high temperature cooking can degrade its quality. But , as the idea became more widely known that this was not the case to coconut oil as it is stable in thermal conditions. “Fortunately that the majority of phenolic antioxidants found within coconut oil are extremely thermally solid,” he noted, explaining that the reason that more antioxidants are found in coconut oil is due to the fact that they are more easily dissolved in the oil via long-term high-temperature boiling. (Published by The Sunday Times of Sri Lanka October 16 2011,”Coconut Oil: Even After All the Trouble “Coconut oil: after All, It’s Still Good For You” written by Kumudini Hettiarachchi and Shaveen Jeewandara).

In 2013, a different study that was conducted in India also revealed that coconut oil extracted through “wet grinding” or using heat, has greater levels of antioxidants. The study evaluated CEVCO, which is cold extracted coconut oil (CEVCO) with hot extracted virgin coconut oil (HEVCO) as well as an unrefined form (CCO) The results of the study were reported in Food Science and Biotechnology. The results showed it was “the antioxidant activity of HEVCO’s HEVCO group was between 80 and 87 percent 65-70% in CEVCO and 35-45 percent for CCO.” Researchers went on to discussed the reasons the necessity of heating for the production of the highest level of antioxidants in coconut first-press oil:

“The higher levels of polyphenols within the HEVCO group could result from the higher released of bound polyphenols which happens when you heat. The coconut milk is an emulsion composed of oil and water, which is stabilized by proteins. To extract liquid from coconut milk the protein bond has to be broken through heating in the double-walled boiler called the VCO cooker (a steam vessel designed at the Central Plantation Crops Research Institute) The heating process must be carried out slowly so that the protein can begin to curdle and release oil.

This study has proven that coconut oils derived from “wet milling” and sold with the labels “no warmth” as well as “raw” as well as “cold-pressed” actually contain lower levels of antioxidants.


So, we’ve reviewed the various varieties of coconut oil that are available on the market in the present. There’s one more question to ask What is organic coconut oil?

Evidently, any claim to conformity to organic standards that is that is inspected by a third-party is an advantage. But is it really necessary?

Evidently, not.

There aren’t any GMO kinds of coconuts and there aren’t many pesticides that are used on coconut trees, but there are a few. Coconuts grow extremely high, therefore they are not spraying with any kind of. Pesticides are only applied to the soil around the tree to allow its roots to take in or directly into tree’s sap by way of the root.

Organic certification can be a costly procedure, and if you are only using certified organic coconut oil, you might not be able to access some of the top products that don’t carry that certification. For instance, bearing an eye on the fact that conventional fermentation technique described above produced the highest antioxidant levels, when you’re living in the tropical regions, which do you think is better: certified organic coconut oil made from dried coconuts, and available for purchase at the local market, or one you can make at home in your own kitchen with fresh coconuts, which aren’t certified organic? Based on the studies that have been done, the coconut oil you can make in your kitchen using fresh coconuts will be the best!

If you’re contemplating the coconut oil options available today, your selection will be heavily influenced by how you’ll utilize it as well as your budget. If you are looking for the best quality coconut oil made from virgin coconut look at the following chart that ranks the various varieties with a range of 1-10.

Do not expect all of these information to be included on labels. Also, it’s likely that employees working in supermarkets that are retail are aware of the answers to specific questions concerning manufacturing methods.

Do your own research online and ask retailers for the information you require in order to come up with a shrewd purchase decision. They are likely to be able contact their suppliers and provide the answers you need.

Better yet, you can direct every question directly to the maker (note useful shopping).

About the author

Contrary to the majority of people writing about coconut oil simply through reading about it, Brian Shilhavy lived with his family in the area of production within the Philippines for a few years. Marianita Jader Shilhavy grew up on an island of coconuts in the Philippines and is exactly the kind of culture with a large quantity of coconut oil in their diet. She then earned a master’s qualification in nutrition and then was an nutritionist in the Philippines. While within the Philippines with their three children, Brian Shilhavy and his wife Marianita experienced firsthand the differences between the health and nutrition of the young generation and the Marianita’s parents, who ate traditional. This resulted in several years living in an agricultural community that was rural where Brian learned about the distinctive characteristics that characterize Filipino food. Brian is also the writer of the most-read publication, “First-Pressed Coconut Oil: How it changed people’s lives and How It Could Change Yours!” (Virgin Coconut Oil: The way it transformed lives of people and how it can transform yours! ).


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