Can You Eat Fractionated Coconut Oil?

Fractionated coconut oil actually comes in 3 different types, one is labeled fractionated coconut oil, the other two MCT oil and liquid coconut oil.

Types of fractionated coconut oil

Although they're produced from roughly the same manufacturing process (hydrolysis followed by fractional distillation then esterification) and hold essentially the same medium-chain fatty compounds – caprylic and capric acids, not all 3 types are edible.

That's because the one labeled fractionated coconut oil is primarily manufactured for external use only (hair care, skin care, body care). This type has not passed the quality assurance to be sold as food (not FDA approved). Hence, you should not eat it.

If you fear you might eat the wrong type of fractionated coconut oil, just bear in mind that fractionated coconut oil comes with a free pump in most cases. This freebie should tell you that the product is strictly meant for external use and not for you to eat. Or you can look out for "Food Grade" label. But if you're still uncertain, it's best to check with the company that sells the product.

For your infoFractionated coconut oil is best used as carrier oil, massage oil, aromatherapy oil or skin moisturizer etc.

As for MCT oil, it's been used in the hospitals (since 1950s) to treat patients who have problems digesting fats composing of long-chain triglycerides, suffer from malabsorption syndrome, Crohn's disease and epilepsy etc.

It's also popular as a special dietary supplement among athletes especially the powerlifters because MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil can help boost their energy level and hence, increase their metabolism that breaks down unwanted body fat while retaining their muscle mass.

For your infoLike coconut oil, too much MCT oil can have "laxative" effect on you, which is why some athletes report GI symptoms or abdominal pain after taking MCT oil. And so, to this small group, MCT oil impairs their performance instead of improving. To take full advantage of MCT oil, you should always start with a very small amount like 1–2 teaspoons for the first few days and slowly up your intake thereafter to allow your body to adapt to its bowel-loosening effect so that you can improve your athletic performance without getting any GI symptoms.

That said, you definitely can eat this type of fractionated coconut oil. It even comes in powder form so that you can mix it well with your coffee or shake to give them a creamy texture rather than having a layer of oil pooling on top. You can also simply mix it with hot water and an MCT drink is ready to go (it's tasteless).

As for liquid coconut oil, it's been recently named as such to market as a cooking oil. Needless to say, you can eat it. It's called "liquid coconut oil" because it stays liquid even when refrigerated.

In fact, all 3 types of fractionated coconut oils remain as liquid in refrigerator because they have a very low melting point of 14 to 25 °F (-10 to -4 °C), so much lower than the real natural coconut oil that hardens below 76 °F (24 °C) that causes some inconvenience for people living in cold places where natural coconut oil easily hardens and they have to spend some effort chiseling the solid chunk or warm it before using.

Which is why liquid coconut oil comes into play as a convenient cooking oil.

Some companies even try to add lauric acid to the caprylic-capric content during manufacturing to enhance the health benefits of this type of fractionated coconut oil as lauric acid is an exceptionally powerful antimicrobial that can boost your immunity to a large extent.

However, due to the high melting point of lauric acid that solidifies easily at 109.8 °F (43.2 °C), manufacturers can't add too much to the contents or it'll destroy its "liquid" state in refrigerator.

To be honest, the small amount of lauric acid in that fractionated coconut oil does help to improve your health to certain degree. But seriously, if you're looking to eat coconut oil for health benefits, you might as well go with virgin coconut oil since it carries a complete set of health-beneficial fatty acids with lauric acid dominating about 50% of the contents, which will take your health to the real higher level. (Check this out → Fractionated Coconut Oil Vs Virgin Coconut Oil)

But if you dislike the coconut scent that is naturally present in virgin coconut oil or you do not want the coconut flavor to overpower your food, then this type of fractionated coconut oil (liquid coconut oil) is your best bet because it has been thoroughly refined, bleached and deodorized.

For your infoLiquid coconut oil has a smoke point of only 320 °F (160 °C). So, it's best to use low or medium heat to cook your food with it.

Is it Good to Eat Fractionated Coconut Oil?

You've come this far and you know that you can eat fractionated coconut oil in the name of MCT oil and liquid coconut oil, now the question is, is it really good for you to eat fractionated coconut oil?

Some people have argued that fractionated coconut oil is created out of the byproducts after extracting certain compounds from coconut oil or palm kernel oil for the manufacturing of synthetic detergents, drugs and health supplements. Also, it's a man-made oil and not a natural one like virgin coconut oil, so, it's no good to eat fractionated coconut oil.

How fractionated coconut oil is made

It's true that fractionated coconut oil was first manufactured by re-combining caprylic and capric acids into triglycerides that are left over in the process of extracting lauric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid for making drugs, health supplements, soaps, detergents and cosmetics etc. But as more people get to know about the health benefits of caprylic and capric acids, manufacturers begin to treat these two medium-chain fatty acids as two of the important substances for extraction, and not as byproducts anymore.

My point is, whether it is made out of byproducts or not, and whether it is man-made or not, the fact is, fractionated coconut oil can't be any worse than most vegetable oils that contain mostly long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) and unsaturated fatty acids that are hard to break down and easily get deposited as body fat, and encourage oxidation, right?

For your infoCaprylic and capric acids are saturated fatty acids, they're not prone to oxidation.

Therefore, you're better off consuming fractionated coconut oil in the name of MCT oil or liquid coconut oil than eating soybean oil, peanut oil, safflower oil and even the so-called health-promoting olive oil that contain 100% long-chain triglycerides and predominantly unsaturated fatty acids.

For your infoApart from being edible, you can also use MCT oil or liquid coconut oil for skin care, hair care and body care. In other words, you can use these 2 types of fractionated coconut oil for both external and consumption purposes, unlike the one that is labeled fractionated coconut oil, which you can only use it externally in most cases.

And make sure you get one that looks colorless (without a tinge of yellow caused by moldy impurities or other colored contaminants) and taste odorless (some MCT oils come with special flavor but that could lower your awareness to its rancidity when it goes bad).

You May Also Like to Find Out...

  1. Difference between Virgin Coconut Oil and Fractionated Coconut Oil
  2. Where to Buy Virgin Coconut Oil?
  3. Skin Benefits of Coconut Oil
  4. How to Use Coconut Oil for Skin Care?
  5. Using Coconut Oil for Acne
  6. How to Use Coconut Oil on Face for Acne?
  7. Does Coconut Oil Cause Breakouts?
  8. Can Coconut Oil Cause Diarrhea?
  9. Coconut Oil Disadvantages
  10. Bad Effects of Coconut Oil
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14 thoughts on “Can You Eat Fractionated Coconut Oil?

  1. I bought the one on the left in the picture, and it did not come with a pump. It said it would, but it didn't. So I wouldn't go by that to discern which type of oil it is.

    • Hi Bobbie, base on these two points extracted from above...

      1. Doctors use MCT oil (the edible form of fractionated coconut oil) to treat patients who have problems digesting fats composing of long-chain triglycerides.

      2. Powerlifters consume MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil to increase their metabolism to help them break down unwanted body fat while retaining their muscle mass.

      MCT oil is good for weight loss. It also comes in powder form. Choose the best form (oil or powder) for your needs.

    • Hi Marsha, Nature's Way liquid coconut oil has pretty much served its purpose (for cooking and baking) and base on this, I think it's a good brand in this context. But the company has received some complaints about its packaging for its virgin coconut oil. So in the end, it's best for you to experience personally and determine whether it's good or not.

    • Hi Deb, not many companies are bold enough to invest in MCT powder because it's not as popular as MCT oil, so you have very limited choices at this point. But you definitely will see more choices in the near future.

      You can go to any nearby health food stores and check with them. Or you can try out Quest Nutrition MCT powder @ Amazon, which is more convenient for you. And read up the label, fine print and reviews carefully.

      Bear in mind that MCT powder is not as pure as MCT oil because manufacturers will need to add stuff like tapioca maltodextrin or others such as corn fiber, lecithin (emulsifier) etc in order to turn it into powder. Also, MCT powder costs more than MCT oil since it requires additional processing into powder form. On top of that, because MCT powder contains fiber due to the extra ingredients added, it tends to upset your stomach more easily than MCT oil.

      I suggest that even if you're seasoned with MCT oil, go slow with MCT powder until you're comfortable with using it to increase the creamy texture of your beverages like coffee and shakes.

  2. hi Soon Chai, thank you for your post! I am doing some research on MCT oil, specifically C8. So I've been taking MCT oil from different companies, and there are also some who sell pure C8 oil, like Brain Octane oil from the Bulletproof company in the US. Recently I had an opportunity to get a bottle of common caprylic oil (for industrial use, for the use for food additives, disinfectant) and smell it - it was scary because the liquid dissolved ink on a FedEx envelop which was lying there, it had a pungent smell, and the data sheet specifically said it is corrosive in nature. How can this be the same caprylic acid you could put inside a coffee? Brain Octane oil has allegedly gone through multiple distillation processes, but I cannot find any information regarding this subject. I just want to find out how the food grade caprylic acid is processed?

    • Hi Tabaan, good question you have raised. The industrial-grade caprylic oil you have bought has got a high concentration level of free fatty acids, which makes the oil very acidic and hence, corrosive (with a pungent smell).

      What is free fatty acid, by the way?

      All dietary oils are made up of triglycerides. Each triglyceride has 3 fatty acids bonded to one glycerol (see LCFA vs MCFA) for clearer illustrations).

      When triglycerides remain intact, they pose no harm to us when we consume them since they're not acidic. But when they split up, the 3 fatty acids become free from the attachment. The more free fatty acids in the oil, the more acidic the oil is. In other words, free fatty acids are the ones that determine the acidity level of the oil.

      Now, to answer your questions, first off, when we say MCT oil contains caprylic and capric acids, that doesn't mean these acids exist in free form. They're still binding to the glycerols as triglycerides. Triglycerides are harmless, remember?

      Yes, our saliva carries enzymes (but in limited quantity) that do break down some triglycerides into free fatty acids the moment we put the oil into our mouth, but that's still safe on the whole (not so acidic) as most triglycerides are still in one piece until they get digested more completely in our small intestines. Our stomach do also help to digest triglycerides as well, but not as much as it occurs in the small intestines.

      If you happen to consume the oil on its own without other food, this can lower the acidity level of your stomach as the gastric acid free up more free fatty acids from the oil. On top of that, since there is no other food (like vegetables) to help dilute the acidity level, that explains why after a hefty acid-forming food (meat, sugar, grains and oil) consumption, many people suffer from acid reflux and feel like vomiting. If they do not balance their diet well with alkaline food always, sooner or later their gastric will suffer and the damage made can be irreversible.

      In short, you can safely ingest caprylic acid in the form of triglycerides that won't dissolve the tissues in your mouth the moment you consume. But the industrial-grade caprylic oil you have with you will as the caprylic acids are already freed from the bond.

      So, in that sense, you don't have to worry about ingesting MCT oil. The reason why manufacturers try to keep temperature low while processing the oils using distillation, mechanical pressing or whatever low-temp methods is to keep as much triglycerides in one piece as possible so that they won't be too acidic for consumption, like the processing of extra-virgin olive oil.

      If you read the label on Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil carefully, it says "Caprylic Acid Triglycerides", not simply "Caprylic Acids" (this can burn a hole in your stomach).

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