The Coconut Oil Project (…Advanced Level, Coconut Oil Education)

I am in no way affiliated with Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil, just re-posting their VERY GOOD info on a product I swear by, as I think their Gold Label Coconut Oil is "second to none".

Today, consumers desiring to purchase coconut oil have a wide variety of choices. On this page we will break down the various types of coconut oils currently available in the U.S. market……

……. and define how "virgin coconut oil" is being used in the marketplace, as well as what peer-reviewed scientific studies have discovered in recent years about the different methods of producing virgin coconut oil.

How is Commercial Coconut Oil Produced?

Refined Coconut Oil

Most commercial grade coconut oils are made from copra. Copra is basically the dried kernel (meat) of the coconut. Most copra that is dried is not sanitary. The standard end product made from copra is RBD coconut oil. RBD stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized.

Steam is used to deodorize the oil, and the oil is typically filtered through (bleaching) clays to remove impurities. Sodium hydroxide is generally used to remove free fatty acids and prolong shelf life. This is the most common way to mass-produce coconut oil.  Modern methods may also use chemical solvents to extract all the oil from the copra for higher yields.

Hydrogenated Coconut Oil

You are unlikely to find hydrogenated coconut oil as an edible oil in the U.S. market today. It would probably only exist as an ingredient in tropical cultures, in such things as candy bars, where they do not want the coconut oil melting.

Hydrogenated coconut oil is virtually non-existent in the US market, since the FDA started requiring trans fats to be listed on labels several years ago, and is now considering banning them altogether, as some European countries have already done.

Liquid Coconut Oil, MCT Oil, and Fractionated Coconut Oil

Fractionated "coconut oil", sometimes referred to as "MCT Oil" and more recently marketed as "Liquid Coconut Oil," is a refined product derived from coconut oil. In fractionated coconut oil, lauric acid, the primary component and the most valuable part of coconut oil, has been removed by fractionation.

Fractionated "coconut oil" is really only a component of coconut oil, since it does not contain any lauric acid.

Defining Virgin Coconut Oil

There is no industry standard definition for "virgin coconut oil" as there is in the olive oil industry for "virgin" and "extra virgin" olive oil.

Tropical Traditions was the first company to publish standards for the use of "virgin coconut oil" in terms of edible oils 13 years ago. Today, however, there are many processes used to produce "virgin coconut oil," and no recognized worldwide body that regulates the term or use.

"Virgin" Coconut Oil vs. "Extra Virgin" Coconut Oil

There is also no official classification or difference between "virgin coconut oil" and "extra virgin coconut oil" as there is in the olive oil industry, since the two oils are completely different in fatty acid composition, harvesting procedures, and terminology.

So, when you see the term "extra virgin coconut oil," it is simply a marketing term, and no different from "virgin coconut oil." We will only use the term "virgin coconut oil" throughout this document. This is also the common term used in the peer-reviewed literature.

Virgin Coconut Oil in the U.S. market…..

…….anyone can choose to use the term on a label, even if it is commercially refined coconut oil. Most all "virgin coconut oils" start out by using fresh coconut meat, or what is called non-copra as we described above in the refined coconut oil section.

Chemicals and bleaching clays for filtering are not used, and the deodorization process is also not used in producing virgin coconut oil, since it starts with fresh coconut, and not commercial "copra."

How is Virgin Coconut Oil Produced?

There are two main methods of producing virgin coconut oil:

1. Virgin coconut oil derived from expeller-pressing the oil from dried coconut.

In this method, the fresh coconut meat is dried first, and then later the oil is pressed out of the coconut. This method allows for easier mass production of virgin coconut oil.

Since the dried coconut (desiccated coconut) industry is well established in coconut producing countries, many of these industries have added virgin coconut oil to their product line. This is the most common type of "virgin" or "extra virgin" coconut oil that you will find online and in stores today. It is mass-produced. (see Tropical Traditions Green Label Virgin Coconut Oil)

2. Virgin coconut oil derived through a "wet-milling" process.

With this method, the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying first. "Coconut milk" is expressed first by pressing it out of the wet coconut meat. The oil is then further separated from the water.

Methods which can be used to separate the oil from the water include boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzymes and mechanical centrifuge (see Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil).

So, which wet-milling process produces the highest quality virgin coconut oil?

Tropical Traditions Wet-milling, The Fermentation Method

In the end, however, Tropical Traditions decided to stick with the traditional method of producing coconut oil through the fermentation process. This is a wet-milling process that is very low tech, and can be accomplished by small-scale producers.

The wet-milling fermentation method grates the fresh coconut, expresses the coconut milk, and then separates the oil overnight by allowing the heavier water to fall to the bottom of the container, while the lighter, crystal clear oil, remains on top.

Most Coconut Oil is Mass Produced

Looking to the success of the olive oil industry, soon people began to advertise their virgin coconut oil as "cold pressed," or even "extra virgin coconut oil."

While some were wet-milled from fresh coconut, they were mass-produced in a single location, using one of the other methods of wet-milling that requires more technology, such as centrifuge, enzyme extraction, or refrigeration-separation.

Research Proves the Traditional Method [Heating] of Producing Virgin Coconut Oil is Superior

Incredibly, several studies published in the past few years show that traditional wet-milling processes that employ heat produce the highest levels of antioxidants.

Traditionally made virgin coconut oils that use heat in the process, even high levels of heat such as boiling the coconut milk to completely separate the oil (a method we do not use), not only does not harm the oil, but actually promotes the antioxidants to become dispersed in the oil.

Tried and True……

The "heated and fermented" method is a traditional method of coconut oil extraction that has been used in the Philippines for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

It is a much more labor-intensive method of producing coconut oil, and cannot be replicated by machine through mass-production. Family producers in the rural areas of the Philippines make the Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil in small batches.

All of the [Tropical Traditions] Coconuts are hand-picked….

…..within 24-48 hours of harvest. Only those nuts that produce the highest quality coconut oil are chosen, while the rest of the crop is sold to copra dealers.

Almost all other virgin coconut oils on the market are mass-produced and do not take this kind of attention to detail that begins with choosing the right nuts.

"Gold Label" Coconut Oil

This enhanced virgin coconut oil, with the highest levels of antioxidants, is now in the
[Tropical Traditions] , top of the line, Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil.

My Note: I personally think it is true, the claim that when you start consuming Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, you start "feeling" better. For me it was quite noticeable, so I think there is definitely something to the advantages of this traditional way of producing coconut oil, and taking in the high level of nutrients and antioxidants in it. The oil is not cheap, but I HIGHLY suggest trying it for six months to see what happens!!!

Like I said, I am in no way affiliated with Tropical Traditions, I just like to spread the word on good products to Family and Friends, who don't like to research this stuff, they just take my advise and do what I do, but that's cool 🙂

~stay healthy~

 For a more concise read, this article is a portion of a much more detailed article on the HealthyTraditions.com website 

 

you might also like…….

 

"The Manuka Project"
(…finding the real Manuka Honey)

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(…is any real Grass Fed Butter left on the Planet?)

"The Stevia Project"
(…weeding out the "Sweet Talkers")

"The BPA Project"
(…the quest for non-BPA lined cans)

 

click here or photo below for
all my articles in "Eat Smart" Copyright Disclaimer: Right to use photos claimed under: Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use

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