Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride
Based on biochemical and nutritional evidences, lauric acid (C12) has distinctive properties that are not shared with longer-chain saturated fatty acids: myristic acid (C14), palmitic acid (C16), and stearic acid (C18). Because medium-chain saturated fatty acids C6 to C12 show sufficiently different metabolic and physiological properties from long-chain saturated fatty acids C14 to C18, the term “saturated fatty acid” does not convey nutritionally accurate information and chain length should be specified as “medium-chain” and “long-chain”. Many of the properties of coconut oil can be accounted for by the properties of lauric acid. Lauric acid makes up approximately half of the fatty acids in coconut oil; likewise, medium-chain triglycerides which contain lauric acid account for approximately half of all triacylglycerides in coconut oil. It is, therefore, justified to classify coconut oil as a medium-chain vegetable oil. There is no link between lauric acid and high cholesterol.
Dayrit, F. M. (2014). Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid, coconut oil is a medium-chain triglyceride. Philippine Journal of Science, 143(2), 157-166.