Difference between coconut oil and fractionated coconut oil

Difference between coconut oil and fractionated coconut oil

Coconut Oil vs. Fractionated Coconut Oil: A Comparative Insight

Coconut oil has long been celebrated for its diverse uses in cooking, skincare, and haircare. In recent years, a variation called ‘fractionated coconut oil’ has gained attention. Let’s dissect the distinctions between the two.

Coconut Oil:

  • Extraction Process: Typically, virgin coconut oil is cold-pressed, meaning the oil is extracted from the coconut meat using mechanical methods without the use of high temperatures.
  • Refinement: Virgin coconut oil undergoes minimal processing, retaining a more natural, coconutty flavor and aroma.
  • Usage: This type of coconut oil is praised for its natural, nutritional properties and is ideal for cooking, baking, and skincare.

Fractionated Coconut Oil:

  • Extraction Process: After regular coconut oil has been extracted, it undergoes fractionation. This process involves separating different fatty acids based on their melting points.
  • Refinement: During fractionation, the oil is heated to melt, then cooled. This allows the different types of fatty acids to separate and solidify at different layers, making it easier to remove specific components.
  • Usage: Given its liquid form and higher concentration of MCTs, fractionated coconut oil is a favorite for cosmetic applications, massage oils, and as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. It lacks the characteristic coconut scent, making it more versatile for blending with other ingredients.

Nutritional Profile:

Coconut Oil:

  • Fatty Acid Composition: Contains a mix of saturated and unsaturated fats. The predominant saturated fat is lauric acid, known for its potential antimicrobial properties.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: Contains trace amounts of vitamin E and vitamin K, along with other beneficial compounds.

Fractionated Coconut Oil:

  • Fatty Acid Composition: Mainly comprises medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which can be rapidly absorbed and utilized for energy, especially caprylic and capric acids.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: While it still provides some benefits, it lacks the broader nutritional profile of regular coconut oil due to the removal of certain components during the fractionation process.
  1. Shelf Life: Fractionated coconut oil has a longer shelf life than regular coconut oil because the LCTs, which are more prone to oxidization, are removed.
  2. Uses: While both can be used for skin and hair, fractionated coconut oil is preferred for topical applications due to its lightweight texture. It’s also commonly used in essential oil dilution.
  3. Nutrition: Regular coconut oil retains more nutritional components than its fractionated counterpart. Thus, for cooking, the non-fractionated version is typically preferred.
  4. Price: Fractionated coconut oil can be pricier due to the additional processing it undergoes.

Which One to Choose?

Your choice depends on the intended use:

  • Cooking and Eating: Regular coconut oil.
  • Skincare and Massages: Fractionated coconut oil for a non-greasy feel.
  • Haircare: Both can be beneficial, but fractionated oil is lighter.

In Summary:

Both coconut oil and fractionated coconut oil have their unique properties and uses. While traditional coconut oil offers broader nutritional benefits, the fractionated version shines in topical applications due to its lightweight nature. Before making a choice, consider your needs and the specific benefits each type offers. For more insights into coconut-based products, delve into our comprehensive guide on coconut product uses.

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