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Coconut oil

From Academic Kids

Coconut oil is a fat consisting of over 90% saturated fat extracted from coconuts and used in cosmetics and in baking as a cooking oil. Coconut oil which has not undergone hydrogenation is referred to as virgin and is free of trans fats. Coconut oil provides seven percent of the total export income of the Philippines, the world's largest exporter of the product.

Contents

Physical properties

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid. Virgin coconut oil melts at 20-25C. It is among the most stable of all vegetable oils and has a moderate smoke point nearly the same as butter.

Health effects

Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, which have been found by some studies to be harmful and artery-clogging. Critics of these studies contend that they did not differentiate between saturated fats and trans fats, which they say are to blame. Studies have found that virgin coconut oil increases metabolism and weight loss, and recent research has found that consuming coconut oil actually reduces cholesterol.

Other uses

It has also been trialled for use as a biodiesel engine fuel, though the high melting point makes its use difficult.

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