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!
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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!
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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.

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

  1. 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!

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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

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

    I love creamed coconut too.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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…

  9. 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.

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