So now that you know what unrefined coconut oil is, what’s the deal with the refined stuff? As you might’ve guessed, the key difference between the two is that refined coconut oil has undergone further processing—and typically quite a bit. The processing steps taken to produce refined coconut oil may include degumming, basically a cold shower for the coconut oil to remove naturally occurring gums; neutralizing, a process by which free fatty acids are removed to prevent the risk of oxidation (i.e., rancid oil); bleaching, which doesn’t actually involve bleach at all, but is accomplished with clay filtering; and finally, deodorizing, which is when the oil is heated to remove any coconut flavor and taste. OK, that’s a lot of information, but what does it all mean? First, not all of those steps are necessarily taken in the refining process, but deodorizing definitely does occur, which brings us to the key functional differences between refined and unrefined coconut oil: Refined coconut oil is pretty close to completely tasteless and odorless, and it boasts a slightly higher smoke point of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also worth noting that, although we typically associate processing with loss of nutritional value, that is not the case with refined coconut oil. The refinement process does not have an impact on the medium-chain triglycerides or the amount of lauric acid and saturated fat in the final product (more on that below). In other words, there’s no reason not to use refined coconut oil, particularly if you’re not wild about the way coconut tastes.