I thought it would be good to answer that question once and for all and be able to send a link to people instead of a long-winded response.
Refined coconut oil is not necessarily something I recommend because it is superior to extra virgin coconut oil. It’s not really. However, you must understand the basic qualities of the world’s most highly-concentrated source of saturated fat, and then proceed to get plenty of it in ya.
Because coconut oil is so highly saturated, it is the most stable oil on the planet – meaning, it is the most resilient to heat, light, and air. Whether coconut oil is expeller pressed (refined) like the Tropical Traditions oil I usually buy, or super duper extra virgin is not much of an issue. You could drop a nuclear bomb on a jar of coconut fat and it’s going to come out the other side unharmed. The extra virgin processing really isn’t necessary like it is with seed oils.
Extra virgin coconut oil’s biggest turnoff is its strong taste. Because of its strong taste and odor, its versatility as a cooking oil is greatly reduced. I used to take spoonfuls of extra virgin coconut oil straight, put it in smoothies, and use it to cook a bunch of stuff. At first I didn’t mind the taste, over time I did. I can’t stand the taste now, much less the smell. It’s revolting. The refined oil, however, is odorless and flavorless, and very well could be the most excellent and versatile of all cooking oils. Cooking most of your food in extra virgin coconut oil is gross, but you will automatically cook most of your food in refined coconut oil because it truly is the king of cooking oils.
Extra virgin coconut oil is also far more expensive than refined coconut oil. Usually triple the price. This is money thrown down the toilet for an oil that can fully handle expeller pressing and come out unharmed.
Lastly, many people experience nausea and diarrhea when consuming extra virgin coconut oil, but they have no such symptoms consuming refined coconut oil. I’ve heard this a lot in those who have made the switch.
All those things put together and refined coconut oil is the champ. I never was able to make coconut oil a permanent habit until I made the switch to the refined version. I now use it for deep frying, sautéing, making my beloved homemade French fries, and more – and it is one of the cheapest sources of calories on earth, which is a rare attribute for many “health foods.” The above 5-gallon bucket provides 1,333 calories per dollar, nearly 100 times cheaper than many vegetables.
The main reason for consuming a fair amount of coconut oil is that it helps increase the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fats in your diet. This protects against cellular oxidation and aging, as well as the free radical damage that is neatly tied to most of the degenerative diseases. It is also lower in free radicals by virtue of the fact that it is not damaged by high-heat cooking.
It seems to be capable of improving the immune system response as well, even providing great symptom relief to those suffering from AIDS, potentially due to its ability to increase the production of Mead Acid when displacing polyunsaturated fat, what some believe to be the ultimate solution for the massive Arachidonic Acid pileup seen in modern Westerners (Arachidonic acid, AA, is the substrate for forming many inflammatory molecules in the body associated with nearly all degenerative diseases from asthma to obesity – Mead acid replaces AA when AA is unavailable… read more about AA and why displacing it may yield dramatic health improvements HERE).
Coconut fat is also believed to stimulate the metabolism, which can most likely be attributed to the fact that it is a saturated fat, and not an unsaturated fat – as polyunsaturated fat has a well-understood anti-metabolic property. I think the research illuminated by Ray Peat in this category is very accurate…
“Another cheap food additive, coconut oil, was found to increase feed consumption while slowing weight gain, so it wasn’t popular in the meat industry. The highly unsaturated seed oils had the opposite effect, of producing a rapid fattening of the animal, while decreasing feed consumption, so by 1950 corn and soybeans were widely considered to be optimal feeds for maximizing profits in the production of meat animals. It was at this time that the industry found that it could market the liquid oils directly to consumers, as health-promoting foods, without bothering to turn them into solid shortening or margarine. Somehow, few physiologists continued to think about the implications of metabolic slowing, obesity, and the related degenerative diseases.”
If Peat’s writing is a little much for your cranium, there is a great interview with Peat on lipids that you can listen to HERE http://eluv.podbean.com/?s=ray+peat
And coconut oil seems to have an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic quality to it as well – all attributes that can probably be linked to the rise in metabolism that coconut oil can trigger.
All this put together, and coconut oil has great potential to assist a population struggling with reduced metabolism, chronic infections, an inflammation epidemic, over-reactive immune systems, and a huge free radical burden.
And there’s hardly a change that is more simple and painless to make for the vast majority of people – replace liquid vegetable oils in your home kitchen with refined coconut oil. Other than your food coming out tasting better, and you feeling better after eating your meals, you won’t even notice making the switch.
For more on saturated fats vs. polyunsaturated fats read Diet Recovery 2.