Fractionated coconut oil actually comes in 3 different types, one is labeled fractionated coconut oil, the other two MCT oil and liquid 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.
Fractionated 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.
Like 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.
Liquid 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.
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?
Caprylic 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.
Apart 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...
- Difference between Virgin Coconut Oil and Fractionated Coconut Oil
- Where to Buy Virgin Coconut Oil?
- Skin Benefits of Coconut Oil
- How to Use Coconut Oil for Skin Care?
- Using Coconut Oil for Acne
- How to Use Coconut Oil on Face for Acne?
- Does Coconut Oil Cause Breakouts?
- Can Coconut Oil Cause Diarrhea?
- Coconut Oil Disadvantages
- Bad Effects of Coconut Oil