Coconut oil is a fat consisting of about 90% saturated fat. Fats are classified as short-, medium- or long-chain based on the number of carbon molecules they contain. Nearly two-thirds of the saturated fat in coconut oil consists of medium-chain fatty acids.
The oil contains predominantly medium chain triglycerides, with roughly
- 92% saturated fatty acids,
- Â 6% monounsaturated fatty acids, and
- 2% polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Of the saturated fatty acids, coconut oil is primarily 44.6% lauric acid,16.8% myristic acid a 8.2% palmitic acid and 8% caprylic acid, although it contains seven different saturated fatty acids in total.
- Its only monounsaturated fatty acid is oleic acid while its only polyunsaturated fatty acid is linoleic acid.
Unrefined coconut oil melts at 24-25Â°C (76Â°F) and smokes at 170Â°C (350Â°F), while refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point of 232Â°C (450Â°F).
Among the most stable of all oils, coconut oil is slow to oxidize and thus resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years due to its high saturated fat content. It is best stored in solid form, below 24.5Â°C (76Â°F) in order to extend shelf life.
However, unlike most oils, coconut oil will not be damaged by warmer temperatures.
The high proportion of saturated fats found in coconut oil places individuals at risk for heart attacks.
The World Health Organization has determined that reduced consumption of saturated fat, including that from coconut oil,
would positively affect health and reduce the prevalence of heart attacks, and epidemiological studies have found that diets high in saturated fatty acids, including lauric, myristic, palmitic, and stearic acid, found in coconut oil, were strong predictors of coronary heart disease risk.