KTC coconut oil – hydrogenated or healthy? Vegan Heath investigates

KTC coconut oil
Source: Spices of India

KTC coconut oil is very cheap, especially when compared to Biona or Essential virgin coconut oil. In Balsall Heath it’s widely available in Asian convenience stores and would be a great affordable alternative.

There is the hydrogenated issue though. If KTC coconut oil is hydrogenated I ain’t touching the stuff. In a comment on a previous coconut oil post Sarojinididi of the Yogi Vegetarian blog wanted to know how you can tell. It’s not straightforward as coconut oil is solid most of the time in this country regardless of whether it’s Biona or KTC coconut oil.

 Answering the KTC coconut oil conundrum

The power of Google has solved the issue, well at least to a point. You do have to believe what other investigators say. Assuming you can manage that then you will be fine.

Ok, so is KTC coconut oil non-hydrogenated and suitable for consumption? Well, according to a contributor on the Weston A Price message board the answer is yes! In the third or fourth comment in that thread a bloke quotes another contributor who wrote the following

Regarding the KTC coconut oil -
I just got the following email response from them:

“KTC Coconut Oil is 100% pure, refined coconut oil. The oil is not hydrogenated in any way and hexane is not used in the refining process.”

Woohoo! We’re in. At least, preliminary investigation suggests so. Further evidence of the suitability of KTC can be found in the comment section of this Wise Geek article on coconut oil. There are seven comments in reverse order. To summarize the discussion went like this:

  1. I bought some coconut oil but it had no smell
  2. KTC coconut oil has no smell because it is refined and so no good
  3. What do you mean, what’s up with it?
  4. ‘related topics’
  5. Some garbled comment suggesting KTC coconut oil IS healthy but unrefined is better
  6. Pride coconut oil doesn’t smell of coconut but KTC does but both say pure?
  7. I spoke with them in detail, it’s the same as virgin as coconut oil no fewer or more benefits!

So there you have it! KTC is the same as virgin coconut oil, well according to KTC anyway. The important point is that it is NOT hydrogenated, that is good news! In the forum post there is a link to a post about refined coconut oil on a Paleo bodybuilding site, which outlines some of the benefits of coconut oil (such as the anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-parasitic properties) and why the unrefined stuff is a waste of money.

KTC coconut oil is a much cheaper alternative to the Essential product. Although refined it retains the health properties from the medium-chain fatty acids. Woohoo!
Click through to Amazon
Biona organic raw virgin coconut oil from amazon, lush. This stuff is never cheap, in fact it is always expensive but it’s great, I’m a big fan!
Click through to Amazon

Over to Bruce Fife who explains that the refining process is known as RBD and is made from a dried form of coconut called copra. RBD stands for ‘refined, bleached and deodorized’. He goes on to say that virgin coconut oil can be extracted via various methods but this involves much less refining. These methods include - boiling, fermenting, refrigerating, mechanical press or centrifuge.

He suggest avoiding the yellow stuff as this indicates impurities and a substandard extraction. He does however agree with paleo man that ‘

regardless of processing, all coconut oils contain essentially the same amount of health promoting medium-chain fatty acids. These… are very resisitent to heat and… are not harmed in processing, even when high temperatures are used. For this reason, RBD coconut oil is still considered a healthy oil

So, I’m satisfied that KTC coconut oil is not hydrogenated AND is healthy! In the future I will use this oil as well as the raw organic virgin coconut oil I currently buy. Unlike, paleo bodybuilders I love the coconut flavour and virgin coconut oil really is pleasant.

In summary

Although refined it seems KTC coconut oil is of the RBD variety and so healthy. Being so much cheaper than the raw virgin coconut oil it is clearly a great alternative. The vegan heath verdict is a big thumbs up! However, there are issues concerning fairtrade and related ethics, which the raw organic virgin coconut oil may trump KTC.

I will carry on with my favourite organic raw virgin coconut oil as I like it so much and love the subtle coconutty taste. But I will use KTC coconut oil too. I’m not sure exactly how as I need to try it again, but I’m sure I’ll let the interested reader know on this blog (see Practicalities below!).

If anyone reading this has any direct interaction with KTC I’d be very interested to hear what they say. Please leave a comment if you have talked to KTC or if you have anything else to add! Thanks!

 Practicalities of KTC coconut oil

Perusing the Weston A Price forum thread there’s some debate on the the packaging of KTC coconut oil as their plastic tub is made of PVC and that can leach into the product, apparently. Happily, they have a 250ml bottle of the stuff.

I’ve got one of these KTC bottles in my kitchen, unused for a year at least. Thankfully, coconut oil is very stable so it will be fine, the trouble is getting it out of the bottle seeing as it is solid. One contributor in the forum suggests putting two bottle in a pan of boiling water and decanting your once solid KTC coconut oil into a more suitable glass jar. Another said to keep it in the airing cupboard. Both good tips!

EDIT - I’ve began a review on using KTC coconut oil which includes a Hollywood style video on the decanting process! Exciting stuff!

Also, there’s a lot of debate on the smoking point of coconut oil. This is lower for virgin coconut oil and so it’d be a good idea to use your KTC coconut oil for higher heat cooking. So use the KTC coconut oil in your chip pan and the raw coconut oil in your porridge (this is lovely, by the way)!

Contacting KTC Edibles

This investigation has had no direct contact with KTC Edibles, if you want to ask them questions yourself you can contact them from the contact page on the KTC site.

EDIT – Trans fats in hydrogenated coconut oil

A contributor on the 5:2 fast diet forum linked to a number of interesting pages that seem to indicate that hydrogenated coconut oil was not comprised of trans fatty acids. That doesn’t seem to make any sense to me, as I’m pretty certain that the hydrogenation process IS what produces the trans fats.

Coconut Cures Coconut Cures by Bruce Fife – loads of great coconut oil info, all you’ll ever need! I’ve used an anti-fungal recipe on my toe with spectacular results!
Click through to Amazon
Pure Coconut Oil Biona organic raw virgin coconut oil from amazon, lush. This stuff is never cheap, in fact it is always expensive but it’s great, I’m a big fan!
Click through to Amazon
KTC coconut oil KTC coconut oil is a much cheaper alternative to the Biona product. Although refined it retains the health properties pertaining to the medium-chain fatty acids. Woohoo!
Click through to Amazon

Confusing. If this IS true it wouldn’t matter if KTC coconut oil is hydrogenated or not. However, the answer to the issue is probably in the labelling as so long as the amount of trans fat in the serving size is sufficiently small (0.5g or less) the label can state 0g trans fats. This is a bit silly, confusing and misleading. Read more at this about.com page.

Summary
Author Rating
Aggregate Rating
2.5 based on 27 votes
Brand Name
KTC
Product Name
Pure Coconut Oil

65 thoughts on “KTC coconut oil – hydrogenated or healthy? Vegan Heath investigates”

  1. I want to use it as I understand it is anti inflamitry and I heard it is good to treat gout.A farmer/producer of organic extra virgin cold compressed coconut oil had it give ti him when in hospital inKudat Borneo.He now belongs to a farmers cooperative eith government aid to produce it for sale from his ttrees and his partners trees. 100 coconuts produce 1L oil so you can see it is not cheap at source. I will steer clear of KTC.\keith

  2. Coconut oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal and promotes healing. I use it on cuts! It’s great stuff, I am a coconut fan, Keith

  3. I use Biona & Redwood and love them both (I order them from the UK). But I saw the KTC on the shelves here in Portugal and bought a bottle. I left it in the sun to go liquid, and was a bit surprised that there is no smell . . . so I have just made it into some sun lotion, mixed with some other oils and essential oils. But I am glad to hear it’s okay to eat . . . and for some vegan cheese recipes, the lack of a coconut smell/taste will be an absolute bonus!

  4. Yes, although RBD it is fine to eat and many people do. The price is a lot cheaper and there is no surprise given the amount of human time required to produce raw coconut oil. I have to say this process does have me hankering after the raw virgin stuff rather than the KTC ot other RBD stuff. But as you say, there are uses for the coconut odourless stuff. Thanks for commenting :)

  5. was just about to look into this and you have done it already and saved me the job. cheers :)

  6. hey guys,

    wrote the KTC today re: their refining process, and here’s what they wrote back:

    Refined, not hydrogenated

    KTC Coconut Oil is 100% pure coconut oil, which has been refined in Europe and packed in the UK. The refining process is necessary to remove any impurities that may be present in the oil. A consequence of the refining process is that the oil will not smell or taste of coconut. Further, the KTC product is not hydrogenated in any way.

    Production

    Coconut oil is physically stripped from the husk and extracted by pressing (not chemical extraction). The oil is then refined. During processing the oil is filtered number of times as well as at the end of process before loading or packing. End product has very low moisture content and high temperatures during deodorisation can guarantee that it is microbiologically safe.

    Temperatures used in process of crush and refining are lower than the normal cooking temperatures – below 80-110C.
    Where processes require to use higher temperature 180-220C vacuum is used to reduce temperature impact.
    All process aids are food grade and fully removed from the oil.
    For bleaching refineries use natural absorbent (bleaching earth or bleaching clay) and active carbon similar to what is used to purify water. Name “bleaching” came from the fact that the same time oil become lighter in colour because of pigments are also absorbed by clay.

    Heat treatment

    Please note that all Coconut Oils are heat treated in some way. This is to ensure that no moisture is present.
    Coconut oil is not changed chemically in any way from its original form by using heat. Unlike other plant oils, the medium chain fatty acids are very resistant to any change via heat. Even refined coconut oil has its medium chain fatty acids kept intact. This makes coconut oil one of the best oils to use in cooking, because it does not break down easily.

  7. Hi J.

    Thanks for adding the reply from KTC here, that’s a big help. Sadly, when I emailed them they ignored me but I’m very pleased to get this info right from the horse’s mouth.

    Cheers mate

  8. hey – me again! i wrote and asked WHAT is the refining process they speak of, and the reply mentions “solvents” – to me, this doesn’t sound too good. can anyone with experience or knowledge shed more light on this?

    “The refining process is done through the heat and addition of solvents (degumming process) and bleaching earth (bleaching process).
    All processing aids are food grade and fully removed from the oil.”

  9. This is timely. Thank you. I’ve just opened a tub of KTC (for last nights dinner), and am now wondering what to do with it after reading this. I think the refining process would suggest that I am better off paying more for the organic virgin stuff rather than ‘pure’. I think my tub of KTC may become my ‘go-to’ for hair/skin care until its finished rather than an addition to my diet.

  10. I recently bought some dessicated coconut powder from an indian grocery store. What’s your take on dessicated coconut powder,does the fat transform into energy like coconut oil.Is it healthy?

    Thank you

  11. Hi J.

    I’ve been working on a reply to your comment. I’ve been digging in and having a good delve into the RBD and refining process in general and with KTC in mind. This post will be published next week, Tuesday 28th May. Hope you find it useful.

  12. Hi Joyce

    Dessicated coconut is as good as any other coconut product. They all contain MCFAs which are very healthy. The same issues occur – unrefined vs refined. I would opt for raw, organic if possible. There may be added sugar to dessicated coconut, which I’d want to avoid, it’s just not necessary.

    I do use dessicated coconut in flapjacks.

    Jon

  13. I’m glad you like it. I know nothing about frying chicken though – breasts or otherwise – nor about buttery tastes either. This is a vegan site, so that’s little wonder….

    If you try the raw, organic, virgin coconut oil you will find the coconut flavour. You might like this better… I love the coconut flavour and have began a comparison review post – Raw organic, virgin coconut oil vs refined KTC. It may be of interest to you.

  14. I’m just wondering, why would KTC not put it on their product labels that it’s not hydrogenated? I mean, it’s a good thing right? Why not advertise it on the product, to avoid receiving hundreds of emails from interested parties? Makes me wonder.

  15. Hi Annette

    It would make sense, wouldn’t it. I think they actually ignore the vast majority of the emails they get. It’s a question everyone is interested in though because we’re all health conscious.

    KTC is an Indian company and over there I don’t think they are bothered about hydrogenated oils. Remember it is the hot countries where the hydrogenated coconut oil is used, as it has a higher melting temperature. Also, I do wonder how many people in the UK are actually bothered about hydrogenated oils, I bet the majority of people eat hydrogenated fats on a daily basis without a care. Not me though!

    The refining process is a complicated procedure and KTC coconut oil is pure which I think in India is sufficient for people to go with it. It’s all guesswork that a little bit of enhanced labelling would solve. But there’s all sorts of labelling issues in the world, isn’t there. Ah well.

    I’ve tried to shed some light on the coconut oil refining process in this post, if you’re interested. It’s quite complicated though…

  16. hi….thanks for this informative article, after going to all the health food shops in town…i opted for the KTC because of price,then…when i got home, wondered why is it so cheap compared to other brands?….the other product we purchased was “Island Sun” creamed coconut, £1.25 for 200g…said to contain NO artificial colours,flavours or preservatives and produced on Sri Lanka

  17. Glad you appreciate my efforts. Creamed coconut is a completely different product of course but you got a cheap one for sure, Madan.

  18. I find this all very confusing and decided to email them direct as a FOi got the following response:

    Thank you for your interest in our coconut oil.

    Refined, not hydrogenated

    KTC Coconut Oil is 100% pure coconut oil, which has been refined in Europe and packed in the UK. The refining process is necessary to remove any impurities that may be present in the oil. A consequence of the refining process is that the oil will not smell or taste of coconut. Further, the KTC product is not hydrogenated in any way.

    Production

    Coconut oil is physically stripped from the husk and extracted by pressing (not chemical extraction). The oil is then refined. During processing the oil is filtered number of times as well as at the end of process before loading or packing. End product has very low moisture content and high temperatures during deodorisation can guarantee that it is microbiologically safe.

    KTC Coconut Oil is not virgin oil.

    COCONUT OIL

    Description Refined coconut oil. A soft, white fat which melts to a clear liquid upon heating.

    Ingredients Coconut oil.

    Countries of origin Philippines, Indonesia, Holland, Germany

    I hope this will help you.
    If you have any questions or require further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Kind regards

  19. Erm sorry- kinda wishing I’d read all the comments first! Oops! So it’s interesting that they obviously have a stock response for this. X
    Still not sure what to make of it or what ill do with the tub I own. Hair oil probably!
    Ah well you loves you learns!

  20. Hi Clare

    Thanks for taking the time to post the response from KTC. It does seem that they have a stock response, at least you got one, they ignored me.

    I use refined coconut oil on skin, often. It’s fine but I do prefer virgin coconut oil, i love the smell and I do think you get more benefit. But I can’t be sure. For eating, it’s virgins by preference for me :)

  21. Just done a big post about this on my blog, (your findings have been referenced!). Thanks so much for this investigation, has really put my mind at ease!

  22. Welcome, glad my efforts are appreciated and useful. Good of you to mention it, Rosie. Which blog post?

  23. Pingback: Rosie's Salad Days
  24. Hello everyone!

    PLEASE do not buy the ktc coconut oil in the PVC jar! The plastic softeners are NOT healthy!!!

  25. DO NOT BUY THIS COCONUT OIL. I have a very long story with this KTC coconut oil basically it ruined my life. ok it didnt ruin my life but it ruined my skin. Im a natural beauty fanatic and tried this on my face,after 3 weeks I had pimples showing up, didnt stop using it cause im a fool, after 2 more weeks I had cystic acne (if you dont know what it is google it) I couldn’t put on clothes or sleep without pain, it would even hurt to eat or smile cause i had acne right next to watch other all over my face. Took me bloody 5 months to make my face look a bit like it used to before but im still struggling with low self confidence. This oil is full of pesticides which clogged my pores, imagine what its doing to your body if it done that to my face. Go buy a bit more expensive but organic coconut oil. And Merry Christmas everyone :D

  26. Wow, now there’s a personal story we should heed. Thanks for the comment Brigitta. Glad you’re over the worst of it.

    Seems we should all be going for the good stuff. No brainer if you can afford it.

    And Merry Xmas to you Brigitta

  27. After some research I started usin KTC coconut oil to defeat dandruff. And guess what? It actually worked. I couldnt believe it myself. I stuggled so long and bought about 5 different kinds of 100% natural shampoo, with no luck. My 2 cents. Bless

  28. Brilliant Cassie!
    The anti-thingy properties of coconut oil are spectacular. Dandruff is no match for the power of coconut oil!

  29. Very helpful article! :)

    I have been using raw, organic, virgin coconut oil for everything lately, but am finding that it is going quite quickly and considering it costs quite a lot of money, I was thinking about also buying a bottle of the considerably cheaper KTC refined oil for things like teeth cleaning (including my dogs teeth!), deodorant etc. I am wondering though if the refined would be as good for teeth cleaning as the virgin would?? I would love to use the virgin oil for EVERYTHING, but I really cannot afford to, especially as there are four of us who use it!

  30. Hi Sally

    Glad you appreciate my efforts. It was a bit of a Sherlock Holmes-esque investigation!!

    You hit on the major problem with Coconut oil, price. The KTC is soooo tempting price-wise. And as you say we aren’t certain that the KTC will retain all the properties of the Virgin coconut oil. And that’s the conundrum!
    I try to use virgin coconut oil as much as possible but still have some KTC at hand.

    For teeth cleaning I’d opt for virgin as the taste is nicer. I’ve not thought of using coconut oil as deodorant but that is something the KTC could be tried for. I do prefer the virgin coconut oil for my skin in general although I have used KTC on cuts and stings. It seems to work just fine.

    I have searched for a cheap virgin coconut oil, but it doesn’t exist. The closest I’ve come to is this Coconoil Organic Virgin Coconut Oil 10KG. I wrote about my time with it this 10kg container in the Coconoil post, and I do need to update this post as I found the perfect way to get the stuff out of the container, thanks for reminding me!

  31. I bought this KTC one last night and had the exact same questions! I did notice the smell isn’t the same but the texture is. Do you use this one?

  32. Hi Jenny

    The texture is the same, the smell and taste are different. There’s no coconut flavour. Some people reckon they prefer KTC for exactly that reason. I’m a fan of coconut flavour so do opt for the raw virgin coconut oil, without processing. So I don’t usually use KTC. I am considering using it for deodorant purposes as per the previous comment. But I’m yet to put that into action. For cooking I will always opt for raw virgin coconut oil as the taste is superior.

  33. Hi Jon,

    thanks for your research. I found on Amazon a claim by KTC that the coconut oil is refined but not hydrogenated, same as you have found. I also did the melting point trick; it seems to melt way before 30 °C, which is a good thing (non-hardenend or hydrogenated coconut oil should melt at 24-26 °). I also did that same test on the oil fraction in a block of santen (creamed coconut) – it started melting at 26 °C so also seems to be ok to use – not for baking but for curries and the like, with that nice taste still there.
    The link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/KTC-100-Pure-Coconut-Oil/dp/B0076O7XR6

  34. Good skills David, thanks for letting us know. I never thought of doing a melt test…

    I love creamed coconut too.

  35. Hi Jon,

    What I forgot to mention, is that the hardened/hydrogenated coconut oil reputedly has a melting point between 30 and 37 °C (T will vary with the hydrogenation degree of the particular producer). What we may conclude from all of this is that refined does NOT equal hydrogenated per se. I did the melting test outside as it was sunny, with a thermometer to find a place where it was about 26 °. But making a mug of lukewarm 27 °C water and trying to dissolve a teaspoon of oil in it will probably work even better to check the quality of your oil.

    cheers, David

  36. Great rule of thumb test, thanks David.
    When eventually I get to rewrite this post, I will include your findings. The KTC odyssey continues. If only they had been on the ball in the first place all this research would be irrelevant. Oh well, it’s all turned out fine in the end.

    Cheers, mate

  37. Thanks Ben, glad you found it useful. I think I will be rewriting this post as it’s a bit rambling. Just need to buy some time…

  38. Recently I walked into a large Asian cash and carry and was amazed to see they had priced KTC pure virgin coconut oil 500 ml for 99p, I bought the lot on the shelf and the shop assistant even brought more from the stock room for me to buy. still wondering was it on a special offer, mis pricing or what, by the way I did walk out with 35 jars, very body close to me has had free jars.

  39. Can you use coconut oil, such as the one from KTC or Pride, as an ingredient of a breakfast spread? Note: there is no cooking involved in making the spread.

  40. You can spread it on bread if you like, but the KTC Coconut oil has no taste. I do like using the raw stuff as a spread, though. I do like the coconut flavour, you see.

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