Differences Between Virgin & Refined Coconut Oil


Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.), is a member of the palm family (Arecaceae). It is the most naturally distributed fruit plant on earth. This plant is very versatile in nature and can be used as food, drink, fuel, medicine and building material for many people living near the sea (1). Coconut can be taken in a diverse form which proves its popularity in modern culture. Various products include tender coconut water, copra or dried coconut, coconut oil, raw kernel, coconut cake, coconut toddy, coconut shells, and wood-based products, coconut leaves, coir pith, etc (2). As we know that among all the products, coconut oil is one of the highest using products among the people worldwide, therefore it is very important to understand the coconut oil and its various production types. This article gives a short insight into the major virgin vs Refined coconut oil difference and their health benefits.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the major oils used mainly for cooking and for external application.
Fresh and mature kernel or coconut meat produces Coconut oil. There are basically two main types of coconut oil available in the market namely coconut oil-copra oil or RBD coconut oil and virgin coconut oil. Both have a similar fatty acid profile. But virgin oil has higher amounts of some nutrients (e.g., vitamin E) and dietary bioactive compounds (e.g., polyphenols).
There is increasing popularity for coconut oil products due to the perceived health effects of certain medium-chain fatty acids. However, lauric acid (C12:0), the primary fatty acid found in coconut oil, acts as both a medium- and long-chain fatty acid from a metabolic standpoint (2).

Definition of Virgin coconut oil

Fresh and mature kernel or coconut meat produces virgin coconut oil. The main method of extraction of this oil is via mechanical or natural processes. The oil obtained from this method is chemical-free. It is purely natural with no bleaching, deodorizing and alteration. The virgin coconut oil is good for health and skin and can be consumed (4,5)

Definition of refined coconut oil

RBD coconut oil is the oil which is available in the market very easily and can be used by various consumers for beauty and cooking purpose (4). RBD stands for refined, bleached and deodorized, another name is refined coconut oil.

 Virgin Coconut Oil vs Refined Coconut Oil

VCO (Virgin coconut oil) RBD (Refined, bleached and deodorized coconut oil)
Fresh and mature kernel (meat) of coconut produces VCO. RBD is the coconut oil obtained by various refining processes from the copra.
VCO contains natural pro-Vitamin A and Vitamin E RBD coconut oil does not have natural pro-Vitamin A and vitamin E as the refining and bleaching process destroys the natural Vitamin E in the oil.
VCO has very low or free fatty acids as it does not go through any oxidation method. RBD coconut oil has fatty acids more compared to VOC.
This Virgin coconut oil is also free of any peroxides and contains polyphenols and antioxidants like tocopherols. RBD oil does not have any polyphenols
The oil extracted from fresh coconut kernel may have mild or intense coconut odor or taste depends upon the fruit. RBD coconut oil is free from any odor and taste.

Related Articles on Coconut Oil 

  1. 17 Health Benefits of Coconut Oil  
  2. Nutritional Composition of Coconut and Healthy Compounds in Coconuts 
  3. 18 Health Benefits of Coconut Water 


  1. http://www.fao.org/3/a-bt726e.pdf
  2. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2018.1497562


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