Coconut Oil Fractionated
The coconut, one of the most important cultivated trees in the world, is Cocos nucifera of the palm family, Palmaceae. Only the one species is in this genus. (Hortus II Dictionary, Bailey) "Descriptive features are: (1) the slender often leaning trunk, enlarged at base, ringed above and 8 to 12 inches in diameter; (2) many pinnate (feathery) leaves 12 to 20 feet long with basal sheath of coarse brown fibers, long petiole (stem) and numerous very narrow shiny yellow-green segments (pinnae or leaflets) spreading regularly in one plane on both sides of axis; (3) numerous whitish or pale yellow male and female flowers in branched flower clusters at leaf bases; and (4) fruit, the familiar coconut, egg-shaped or elliptic, consisting of a light brown fibrous husk 8 to 12 inches long, a hard shell and one very large hollow seed with whitish, oily edible flesh." (Common Trees of Puerto Rico, Handbook 249, Little and Wadswoirth, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1964) "What we call the meat of the coconut is really food for the developing embryo and is technically called the endosperm. In the young fruit this is a liquid but it gradually becomes firm, and by nine months the meat is at its greatest thickness." (Consider the Coconut, Harry P. Haldt, Natural History, April 1955) The fruit botanically is not a nut but a drupe. The bluntly 3-angled husk is 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches thick. It does not split open spontaneously as some fruits do. The meat is about 3/8 inch thick. The large central cavity contains a watery or milky liquid often called coconut milk or coconut water. It is one of the largest seeds known, surpassed only by the 1-seeded, 2-lobed fruit of the double-coconut (Lodoicea maldivica), a tall fan palm of the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean. L. maldivica produces fruit weighing up to 50 pounds. (Common Trees of Puerto Rico, Handbook 249, Little and Wadswoirth, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1964) The coconut palm is medium sized, usually 30 to 60 feet, sometimes as tall as 80 feet. "The slender trunk is enlarged to 16 to 20 inches in diameter at base, often slightly inclined there, and may be leaning as a result of the constant coastal breeze or after partial uprooting by a hurricane. The gray or brown trunk is lightly cracked. At the apex is the relatively broad evergreen growth of alternate, erect, spreading and drooping leaves," known as fronds. (Common Trees of Puerto Rico, Handbook 249, Little and Wadswoirth, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1964) Fractionation means the oil has been physically separated into its different parts. All oils are made up of varying percentages of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Usually fractionation is used to give you more of the saturated (more solid) part than is found in the whole oil. Fractionation does not change the chemical structure of the fat molecules, as hydrogenation does. I think everyone should avoid partially hydrogenated oils (the primary source of trans fats). Fractionated oils are like other saturated fats, which should be limited if you have a problem controlling your weight or cholesterol. They are generally not a concern if you are burning all of the calories you consume.