Coconut Oil: Refined vs. Unrefined, Expeller-Pressed vs. Cold-Pressed, Virgin vs. Extra Virgin

“I’ve been treating eating disorders (ED’s) and obesity for nearly 25 years and have always had good outcomes.  My rate of success improved dramatically, however, when I discovered the critical role that processed food plays in causing as well as in preventing recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Bulimarexia, (a combination of the two) Binge Eating Disorder (BED,) Emotional Eating and Obesity. To this end, I find it of great importance to provide both my patients and readers with relevant nutrition information to aid in their recovery. You can view all my Nutrition, Fitness, and Health articles here.

Today there are a lot of varieties of Coconut Oil on the store shelf, trying to figure out what type to purchase can quickly become quite confusing. What are the differences between the different varieties available? What type of coconut oil yields the greatest health benefits?

Refined Coconut Oil vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil

Refined (Commercial Grade) Coconut Oil is both tasteless and odorless. It is the most processed coconut oil on the store shelf. It goes through a pretty intensive process that deodorizes and bleaches the oil. Sometimes Refined Coconut Oil is hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated, which results in the creation of trans-fats.

Unrefined Coconut Oil has a richer flavor than Refined Coconut Oil. The oil is minimally processed, which results in an oil that has a much higher nutrient content (proteins, vitamins and anti-oxidants).

The Winner? Unrefined Coconut Oil

Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil vs. Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil

Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil involves squeezing the coconut oil out of the coconut meat in a screw-like machine. The pressure and friction in the expeller can lead to temperatures of around 99°C. At this temperature there are some, albeit minimal, nutrients lost.

Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil involves pressing the coconut milk out of the coconut meat at low temperatures, usually below 60°C. By utilizing this method the greatest amount of nutrients are preserved.

The Winner? It’s a close one but Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil wins.

Virgin Coconut Oil vs. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Surprisingly, according to Tropical Traditions, “there is no official classification or difference between ‘virgin’ and ‘extra virgin’ as there is in the olive oil industry, since the two oils are completely different in fatty acid composition, harvesting procedures, and terminology.” The classification of “extra virgin coconut oil” is completely arbitrary.

The Winner? It’s a tie!

Overall Results? Unrefined, Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil with Unrefined Expeller-Pressed Coconut Oil being a very close 2nd.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan. Reading the information on this website does not create a physician-patient relationship.

© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. This information is intellectual property of Dr J Renae Norton. Reproduction and distribution for educational purposes is permissible.

Please credit ‘© 2012, Dr J Renae Norton. http://www.eatingdisorderpro.com’

Sources:
http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/what_is_virgin_coconut_oil.htm
http://www.organicfacts.net/organic-oils/organic-coconut-oil/unrefined-coconut-oil.html
http://goldenbarrel.blogspot.com/2012/01/truth-about-coconut-oil.html
http://www.livestrong.com/article/318185-refined-vs-unrefined-coconut-oil/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/287991-what-is-the-difference-between-expeller-pressed-coconut-oil-cold-pressed-coconut-oil/

Photo Used Under Creative Commons License, Flickr User Alex the Great.

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