Fractionated Coconut Oil Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Fractionated Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil
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Fractionated coconut oil is oil from the fruit of the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera) tree that has had the lauric acid removed. The word "fractionate" means to separate. Fractionation of coconut oil is a process that uses heat to separate the oil into its components—in this case, to separate out certain fatty acids.

Fractionated coconut oil is often sold as MCT oil and is used by many for health reasons.

But there little scientific evidence to support many of the oil's most popular uses.

Nutrition Facts

Coconut Oil Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 tablespoon (14 mL)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 120 
Calories from Fat 120 
Total Fat 14g21%
Saturated Fat 13g65%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 1g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 0mg0%
Potassium 0mg0%
Carbohydrates 0g0%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 0g 
Protein 0g 
Vitamin A 0% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 0% · Iron 0%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Fats in Fractionated Coconut Oil

Almost all of the fat in coconut oil and fractionated coconut oil is saturated fat. As a general rule, health experts advise consumers to avoid saturated fats in favor of polyunsaturated fat and monounsaturated fat because these fats provide heart-healthy benefits.

However, some healthy eaters have jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon and have begun to use coconut oil in their diets and on their bodies because they believe that the saturated fat in it is healthier than other types of saturated fat.

The reason, they say, is that coconut oil—and specifically fractionated coconut oil—provides healthier fatty acids.

Most of the saturated fat in coconut oil is lauric acid. Lauric acid is known to increase total cholesterol, however, the increase comes from a boost in HDL (high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol) rather than LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

Lauric acid can be found in some tropical plant oils.

However, when coconut oil is fractionated, the lauric acid is removed, leaving behind capric acid and caprylic acid. These medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) are believed to provide greater health benefits. Sometimes fractionated coconut oil is sold as MCT oil. 

MCT oil is especially popular with people following a ketogenic diet because the oil is efficient at producing ketones—the preferred energy source for people on a keto diet.

Health Benefits

Fractionated coconut oil and MCT oil benefits are widely promoted online and in the media. In a review of MCT oil products, the Therapeutic Research Center Natural Medicine Database evaluated the science behind its many purported health benefits.

They found that is possibly effective for:

  • Muscle and fat loss in cancer patients
  • Treatment of seizures
  • Treatment of a digestive disorder called Waldmann disease

They found this it is possibly ineffective for:

  • Aids-related weight loss
  • Enhancing exercise performance

Lastly, the research source found that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of MCT oil for:

  • Age-related muscle loss
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Chylothorax (a condition in which lymphatic fluid leaks into the space between the lung and chest wall)
  • Hypertriglyceridemia (having too much fat in the blood)
  • Obesity

Some people, especially those on a high fat or ketogenic diet, find fractionated coconut oil appealing because it is tasteless. This allows them to eat more of it to reach their macronutrient goals.

If you are following a diet for fat loss, it's important to remember that any form of fat provides nine calories per gram compared to four calories per gram for protein and carbohydrate. So if you are choosing to eat a higher fat diet, you'll need to eat less in order to keep your energy balance in check.

Common Questions

If not used in the diet, what is fractionated coconut oil used for?

There are many popular uses for fractionated coconut oil. Some people use it as a hair conditioner, skin creme, massage oil, nail care, as a leather conditioner, or as a wood polish. The liquid texture of this oil makes it easier to use than traditional coconut oil.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Many people use the oil in smoothies and many others (especially those on a ketogenic diet) add it to coffee.

Safety and Side Effects

You may experience some side effects when consuming coconut oil or fractionated coconut oil. These oils may cause stomach upset or weight gain. 

Coconut oil and MCT oil is likely safe when applied to the skin or consumed by mouth. However, health experts caution that this fat substantially increases your caloric intake and saturated fat intake. If you are watching your weight or trying to boost heart health, this product may work against you if you consume it in excess.

Sources:

Coconut Oil. Therapuetic Research Natural Medicines Database. 9/28/2017

Muth, Natalie Dugate, MD, MPH, RD CSSD FAAP. Sports Nutrition for Health Professionals. F.A. Davis Company. 2015

Sanjukta Kar, Rajib Kumar Ghosh, D. K. Bhattacharyya, Minakshi Ghosh. Isopropanol Fractionation of Coconut Oil into its Olein and Stearin FractionsInternational Journal of Scientific Research in Science and Technology. Volume 1 Issue 5 2015