Is Cooking with Coconut Oil, Good or Bad? Facts and Myths

Is Cooking with Coconut Oil, Good or Bad? Facts and Myths

Benefits of Cooking with Coconut Oil

With many choices available in store, it is easy for consumers to get confused on which oil to buy or decide which oil is healthy.

Coconut oil had bad reputation for decades now because of some biased scientific results. Coconut oil has got second life now after studies prove saturated fat is not so bad for our heart.

Coconut oil is high in saturated fat (90% of it is calories) and is a perfect and healthy cooking oil. Populations that eat a lot of coconut are healthy. Not much cardio related diseases were found in them.

The two most broad categories of coconut oil are refined and unrefined.

  • Refined and hydrogenated coconut oil that contains trans fats are bad for health.
  • Unrefined, organic, virgin coconut oil that are good for health.

Coconut Oil Nutrition

Coconut Oil Has a Unique Composition of Fatty Acids. The fatty acids are about 90% saturated. This makes coconut oil highly resistant to oxidation at high heats.

These fatty  acids go straight from the digestive tract to the liver, where they are likely to be turned into ketone bodies and provide a quick source of energy.

Medium Chain Triglycerides

Unrefined coconut oil actually improves blood lipid profiles

“The saturated fat in coconut oil is mostly lauric acid, a medium-chain saturated fatty acid that appears to have a more neutral effect on heart health when compared to longer-chain saturated fats found in meats and dairy products,” says Wendy Bazilian, R.D., author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

It’s a versatile, ancient oil that's used in cooking and also in home care remedies like

  • Skin care
  • Hair care
  • Heart disease
  • Digestion
  • Weight loss
  • Immunity

Coconut oil is used in high-heat cooking methods like frying

Once you choose whether or not you want a refined or unrefined coconut oil, you’ll need to choose which method of extraction suits your tastes and purposes.

Types of Coconut Oil extraction process

  • Cold pressed
  • Expeller-pressed
  • Centrifuged

These are methods of extracting the oil from the dry or fresh coconut and can be found in both refined and unrefined varieties. Generally speaking, all methods can create a tasty, good, healthy oil.

Depending on extraction process (technique) coconut oil are classified as

  • Virgin Coconut Oil (cold pressing)
  • Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (cold pressing)

“This type of oil will have more antioxidants as well as a stronger coconut flavor and aroma,” Bazilian says

Both cold-pressed and expeller-pressed versions have a long shelf life.

Refined Coconut Oil

  • A refined coconut oil is tasteless and odorless.
  • Withstand slightly higher cooking temperatures before reaching its smoke point
  • Cooking Oil - clean, pure, malleable fat without a dominating coconut flavor.
  • Refined coconut oils do not offer the same health benefits of a virgin, completely raw coconut oil, but they are still excellent sources of most of the beneficial fatty acids.

Unless mentioned coconut oil available in market are refined oils.

You can find a good quality one that’s been refined using a natural, chemical-free cleaning process and and a relatively low-temperature extraction.

Or you can find one that’s been refined from rancid oil byproducts using a chemical cleaning process.

Both oils are expeller-pressed and refined, but one is good quality and one is cheap and just plain nasty.

Many coconut oils are even hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated! (Avoid these at all costs as the hydrogenation process creates synthetic trans-fats.)

However, there are some quality, non-hydrogenated refined coconut oils available that are refined using a natural, chemical-free cleaning process (usually involving steam and/or diatomaceous earth).

Unrefined Coconut Oil

An unrefined coconut oil is typically labeled “virgin” or “extra-virgin.” Virgin and extra-virgin coconut oils are made from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut without the addition of any chemicals.