Coconut oil

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Coconut oil (coconut fat)
Coconut oil
Raw material plant (noun)

Coconut palm ( Cocos nucifera )


Stone fruit ( endosperm )


white to yellowish white

Oleic acid 5-8%
Linoleic acid 1–2.5%
Linolenic acid <1.1%
Palmitic acid 8-11%
Lauric acid 44-52%
Myristic acid 17-21%
More fatty acids Caproic acid <0.8%, caprylics. 5-9%, caprins. 6-10%, stearins. 1–3%, palmitoleic acid <1%, arachidic acid <1.4%
Other ingredients Tocopherol 80 mg / kg
density 0.919-0.937 kg / dm 3 at 15 ° C
viscosity = 23–28 mm 2 / s (at 40 ° C)
Oxidation stability 50.2 h
Melting point 23-26 ° C
Smoke point 194 ° C
Flash point 272 ° C; 288 ° C
Iodine number 5-13
Saponification number 246-265
Calorific value 37.5 MJ / kg
Cetane number 86.9
Manufacturing and Consumption
Production worldwide 3.1 million tons (2014)
Most important production countries Philippines , Indonesia , India
use Food, bioenergy, industry

Coconut oil or coconut oil , also known as coconut fat , is a white to yellowish-white vegetable fat that is obtained from copra , the nutrient tissue of the coconut (fruit of the coconut palm ). It has a very high percentage of saturated fat . Coconut oil is mainly used in the kitchen for baking , frying and deep-frying , as well as in the confectionery industry, for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes and as a raw material for oleochemicals .


Coconut oil is white to yellow in color. It smells mild, waxy and fresh with a slight coconut note. Although this oil has a long shelf life due to its high content of saturated fatty acids, coconut oil often smells slightly rancid. It is also known as coconut fat because it is solid at room temperature .

Since coconut oil absorbs considerable heat when it melts , it creates a distinct cooling effect in the mouth - this is used, among other things, by the confectionery industry in the production of ice confectionery .

General chemical structure of fat , like coconut fat. R 1 , R 2 and R 3 therein are predominantly long-chain alkyl radicals or (more rarely) alkenyl radicals with a mostly uneven number of carbon atoms. Like other vegetable fats, coconut oil is a mixture of tri esters of glycerine .


Coconut oil consists mainly of triglycerides , which contain saturated fatty acid residues. The triglycerides also contain the monounsaturated oleic acid residue as a fatty acid residue as well as traces of minerals, amino acids , vitamin E and lactones . However, if the oil is refined, the vitamin E is lost.


Although coconut palms have been cultivated in the Malay archipelago for 3,000 to 4,000 years, they only gained greater economic importance in the 19th century with the establishment of plantations on Ceylon by the Dutch . Today the cultivation of coconut palms extends worldwide to the tropical zones in the coastal area and on river banks. A large part of the fruit is consumed locally, with Indonesia, the Philippines and India being the most important growing countries. The use of copra has increased significantly over the past few decades. Global coconut oil production has almost doubled since 1961:

Global production volume according to FAO
year in tons Share of global

Vegetable oil production

1961 1,634,150 9.4%
1971 2,266,299 8.3%
1981 2,808,955 6.8%
1991 2,950,192 4.7%
2001 3,739,380 3.9%
2011 3,185,873 2.1%

In 2014 coconut oil accounted for almost two percent of global vegetable oil production.

Extraction and storage

Coconut trees on Maui
On the right the flesh of the coconut

For the production of coconut oil (the fruit of the coconut coconut palm ) crushed and also called copra pulp dried. This is pressed in oil mills . The oil is refined and deodorized before it is used as an edible fat . Coconut oil can be stored refrigerated for one to two years.


Coconut oil is used in many ways in the preparation of meals, in the manufacture of cosmetics, in technology and industry.

In the kitchen

Unhardened coconut fat provides the cooling effect when consuming ice confectionery .

Coconut oil is suitable as a highly heatable oil for cooking, frying and baking, as it is solid at room temperature, but because of its low melting point it becomes liquid very quickly when heated. In addition, coconut fat is used in the food industry for the production of margarine and confectionery, as is the desiccated coconut produced during pressing . Coconut oil has been available in Germany under the brand name Palmin since 1894. In addition, unprocessed coconut fat can also be used directly as a spread .

In cosmetics

Because of its lauric acid content, coconut oil is one of the lauric oils . The properties of lauric acid form the basis for the production of shampoo , shaving soap , sun protection cream and after-sun products , bath and massage oil, cream, soap and other detergents . Coconut oil ( Oleum cocos ) has a moisturizing effect and has a cooling effect, but hardly penetrates the skin. It is also used as a natural insect repellent . According to the German Green Cross, applying it to the skin creates a simple mosquito repellent.

In technology and industry

The oil is also used in a variety of ways in this area. So it is in the confectionery industry due to its cooling effect in the manufacture of ice cream, waffle fillings and coating compositions used also in the production of vegetable margarine and chocolate. The fatty acids produced during refining are also used in the manufacture of synthetic resins , insecticides and pharmaceuticals. In addition, coconut oil can be processed into higher, saturated and unsaturated fatty alcohols , fatty alcohol sulfates and other alcohol derivatives. It is also suitable for the production of soaps and candles . Due to the high proportion of lauric acid , coconut oil is also an important starting product for surfactants . Finally, from the information contained in the oil Caprylsäuremethylester and octyl alcohol still octyl are obtained, which is used as an additive in soaps and candles.

Another positive property of coconut oil is that it can be transesterified with methanol in a chemical process and can thus be used in its pure form ( fatty acid methyl ester ) as biodiesel or as an admixture to diesel fuel . In the Philippines, fatty acid methyl esters are already being produced in large quantities from coconut oil.

Ecological problems

Since the cultivation of coconut palms is only possible in tropical areas and under conditions similar to those of the oil palm , the criticisms of coconut oil production are similar to those of palm oil production. Another point of criticism, in addition to the suspicion of human rights violations and illegal clearing, is that the yield of coconut palm plantations (0.7 t / ha) is significantly lower than that of palm oil plantations (3.3 t / ha). According to the study “Auf der Ölspur” by WWF Germany , switching from palm oil to other fats could cause 308 million tonnes more greenhouse gas emissions and an increase in illegal deforestation if it were largely to coconut oil. According to this, the ecological footprint of coconut oil would be larger than that of palm oil, which has already fallen into disrepute.

Health effects on humans

Coconut oil is sometimes seen as a “superfood” and a miracle for weight loss. A 2016 New York Times poll found that 72% of the public consider coconut oil "healthy," compared to 37% of nutritionists.

The health effects of coconut oil are seen as ambivalent in the scientific literature. Coconut oil consists of 82% triglycerides of saturated fatty acids , so it is more "saturated" than z. B. palm oil , lard and butter. The American Heart Association includes so from an evaluation of more than 100 studies that negative effects predominate on human health, since coconut oil significantly reduced the LDL value increased (common known as "bad cholesterol") and thus a cause of fatal cardiovascular disease may be . The authors recommend a Mediterranean diet as a healthier alternative, i.e. the consumption of products that contain simple (e.g. rapeseed or olive oil ) and polyunsaturated fatty acid residues (especially flax, sunflower or fish oil). This is in line with the recommendations of other major health organizations such as B. the World Health Organization . In contrast, other studies found no differences in the consumption of coconut oil or olive oil with regard to the blood lipid levels (e.g. LDL cholesterol) of the test subjects.

Fatty acid composition of coconut oil
fatty acid Weight percentage of total fatty acids
Caproic acid <0.7%
Caprylic acid 4.6-10.0%
Capric acid 5.0 - 8.0%
Lauric acid 45.1 - 53.2%
Myristic acid 16.8 - 21.0%
Palmitic acid 7.5-10.2%
Stearic acid 2.0-4.0%
Oleic acid 5.0 - 10.0%
Linoleic acid 1.0-2.5%
Linolenic acid <0.2%
Arachidic acid <0.2%
Gadoleic acid <0.2%

Effects of coconut oil on weight loss

The good reputation of coconut oil as a means of weight loss can be traced back to the work of the nutritionist Marie-Pierre St-Onge. She and her research group published two scientific papers that showed that consuming medium-chain triglycerides - a component of coconut oil - can help adults lose weight. The study participants received a special diet, which was rich in medium chain triglycerides (medium chain triglycerides = MCT). The metabolic data showed that the MCT lowered body fat and helped weight loss users burn energy. A special 100% medium chain coconut oil was used in the study. Most coconut oil on the market, however, has only 13-14% of these medium-chain triglycerides, so large amounts of coconut oil would have to be consumed to absorb a comparable amount of MCT.

Recent studies in children and women have not found any effects of commonly available amounts of coconut oil on thermogenesis or fat burning . The German Nutrition Society criticizes the existing studies on weight loss via medium-chain triglycerides as scientifically inadequate (e.g. because of short study times, small patient groups and small sample sizes) and therefore does not recommend therapy with coconut oil.


Web links

Individual evidence

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  13. Protection from insects. (No longer available online.) In: Archived from the original on May 12, 2014 ; accessed on May 12, 2014 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
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