Unrefined Coconut Oil
Let’s now turn to “virgin coconut oils”. As I mentioned above, the common denominator that should exist in all virgin coconut oils is that they start with fresh coconut and not copra. However, there is no worldwide certification body that determines or certifies coconut oils as “virgin”, so anybody can use the term and put it on a label if they so choose. The first thing to investigate when choosing a virgin coconut oil, is whether or not it is actually a copra-based coconut oil or not. If it does use copra as its starting point, it really is not a true virgin coconut oil, but an industry standard RBD refined coconut oil with a clever label.
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
A common title or term used is “extra virgin coconut oil”. So what is the difference between “virgin” and “extra-virgin” coconut oil?
Nothing. There are no commonly understood or accepted definitions for “extra” virgin coconut oil, as there are in the olive oil industry. It is simply a marketing term and nothing else.
So in analyzing the virgin coconut oils that are currently in the market, which would also include those coconut oils labeled as “extra virgin”, we see that all virgin coconut oils fall into two broad methods of production:
1. Virgin coconut oil derived from pressing the oil out of 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, but it is a higher quality oil than RBD coconut oil, as it starts with fresh coconut and not copra.
2. Virgin coconut oil derived through a “wet-milling” process. With this method, the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying the coconut meat 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.
We are very fortunate today that the coconut oil producing countries have done quite a bit of research on virgin coconut oils over the past several years. They have begun to wake up to the fact that Western advice on dietary oils, which has led to the demonization of their traditional fats and oils like coconut oil, has been primarily political in nature, rather than scientific.
Much of their research in recent years has been in the area of cholesterol and heart disease, since this is the main point of attack from Western countries. They have learned that their traditional fats and oils are actually healthier than the newer expeller-pressed seed oils from soy and corn, two crops heavily subsidized by the U.S. government which keeps prices artificially low. We feature much of this research on our peer-reviewed research page at CoconutOil.com. This research has confirmed that not only does virgin coconut oil NOT affect cholesterol levels negatively, but that it affects them positively. For more on this topic, see: Coconut Oil is Beneficial for Your Heart: Shining the Truth on Mainstream Media’s Negative Attacks Against Coconut Oil.
Researchers from universities in the Philippines, Malaysia, Sir Lanka, and India have looked at various methods of producing coconut oil. In the beginning, it was difficult to determine what could be measured in a laboratory to determine if virgin coconut oil was indeed superior to regular RBD refined coconut oils. They soon discovered that the one characteristic that could be measured, and that was significantly higher in virgin coconut oils than RBD refined coconut oils, was the level of antioxidants. Antioxidants were found to be much higher in the virgin coconut oils, especially those produced by the wet-milling method, as described above.
– See more at: http://healthimpactnews.com/2014/what-type-of-coconut-oil-is-best-how-to-choose-a-coconut-oil/#sthash.5xfDlluW.dpuf