Can You Really Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss?
Can you really lose weight with coconut oil?
Research shows this tropical oil may help increase your metabolism which can help you burn off fat faster.
Using coconut oil for weight loss may go against the belief that all fat is bad for you and it eating it will cause you to gain weight.
Now it is true that eating too many hydrogenated fats can result in excessive fat calories and high cholesterol levels. However, food scientists state that fats are an essential part of a healthy diet. Your body needs them to produce certain hormones and cellular membranes.
In fact, fats help your body absorb certain fat-soluble minerals and vitamins such as vitamin D and vitamin A. In other words, without fats, our bodies simply can’t function properly.
So if you want to lose weight, it’s best to do in a balanced and healthy way. Following sensible eating habits and doing daily exercise will probably go a long way towards reaching your ideal body weight.
But if you could get a bit of a ‘nutritional edge’ that could help make your weight loss efforts simpler and faster, wouldn’t you want to use it?
Current research shows that fish oils may help weight loss by enhancing fat metabolism and lower triglyceride levels.
So without further delay, let’s take a closer look at using coconut oil for weight loss and the research behind it…..
Medical Research on Using Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
So research studies have shown that coconut oil contains some special fatty acids called medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s). And apparently these fatty acids may help boost your metabolism and increase thermogenesis (heat production for better fat burning) which may lead to weight loss.
Now while MCT oil may be made from this healthy tropical oil, I discovered that there are actually some differences when you compare the health benefits of MCT Oil vs coconut oil.
When I used to be an avid bodybuilder in my 20’s and 30’s, I learned that MCT oils are frequently used by bodybuilders. They added the oil to their diets to help boost their energy levels and retain muscle mass when they were on lower calorie diets for bodybuilding contests.
It seems these bodybuilders were onto something…a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found patients lost weight when they included MCT’s in their diet. In fact, they found patients lost more weight on a diet including MCT’s compared to a diet with olive oil.
In another interesting study, food scientists learned that MCT oils may even help improve symptoms in some patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease. They believe this improvement was due to a slight shift in the patients’ diets towards a more ketogenic, fat-burning diet.
And scientists also believe that certain patients with conditions where they are unable to properly digest fats (malabsortpion syndromes) may also benefit from using MCT supplements.
A recent study at McGill School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition in Montreal, tested an oil made of medium chain triglycerides on men and women who were 25 pounds overweight. The oil consisted of 67% tropical oils, including coconut oil, flax seed oil and olive oil.
Peter Jones, a professor in charge of the study, states that,
“…MCT oil is directed towards the liver for combustion and burned as energy. The oil is not stored in the body as fat and heightens the metabolism, which is a key in maintaining a healthy body weight. There is also some provocative data suggesting that oils rich in MCT reduce appetite.”
Male participants in the above study lost an average of one pound over a month. “After consuming the oil over a year, a man could lose 1 pound per month or 12 pounds per year,” says Jones, noting that female participants experienced heightened metabolic rates.
How to use Virgin Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
It’s a scientific fact that the total amount of weight you can lose will depend on your total daily calorie intake. Now you probably don’t want to even think about counting calories, but that is the 100% reality of weight loss. Eat less than what your body needs to function and you will lose weight.
However, it does get a bit more complicated in what types of foods are in your daily diet. You see, we usually eat a mixture of proteins, carbs and fats in every meal.
From a caloric viewpoint, 1 gram of fat contains 9 calories and 1 gram of protein or carbs contains about 4 calories.
Seeing how fats contain more than double the amount of calories of protein and carbs, you can see why many diets recommend reducing fat because it will really help chop down your daily caloric intake.
The US Dept. of Health suggests that safe and healthy weight loss diets can range from 1000 to 1600 calories for adult women and 1200 to 1600 calories for adult men. And The Institute of Medicine recommends that your total daily caloric fat intake should range from 20 to 35 percent.
So an adult woman eating 1000 calories per day to lose weight should eat about 200 to 350 calories from fat. Remember that this 200 to 350 calories from fat will include ALL FAT in your daily diet.
So how can you use coconut oil to lose weight based on these dietary principles?
Well, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil contains about 130 calories of fat. So if you added 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to your daily diet this will put about 260 fat calories to your daily caloric intake.
However, if you do this, you’ll have to make sure you don’t go overboard from other fat sources or you’ll be taking in excessive fat calories which could be unhealthy and increase your risk for heart disease.
Once you’re adding 1 tablespoon of coconut oil per day, you could try slowly increasing this amount until you’re consuming 2 to 3 tablespoons daily, but you’ll have to make sure you reduce your overall total calories from other sources to maintain a total lower daily caloric intake. So what you’re basically doing is shifting your diet towards a more ketogenic, fat-burning diet.
If you can’t stomach the idea of swallowing a spoonful of oil, you could try using coconut oil softgels.
How I Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
At first, I started using the oil to fry with and I substituted it into some baking recipes. For example, I would use coconut oil instead of vegetable oils when I fried eggs or making stir fries. I found the food would slide right off the hot pan and the kitchen was filled with that heavenly aroma of fresh coconuts while I was cooking.
I also made a pre-workout drink by mixing a tablespoon of coconut oil into a glass of hot water. I would take this before hitting the gym and I find it really boosted my energy levels throughout my entire workout. You can also add a small spoonful of coconut oil to your morning coffee. I found that the mixture of caffeine and healthy fats seemed to really perk me up in the morning.
You could also try using these Virgin Coconut Oil Weight Loss Shake Recipes for easy and nutritious ways to get your daily dose of that healthy oil. These recipes use many healthy ingredients such as ground flax seeds and fresh fruits. These delicious shakes may help you lose weight with coconut oil and you may find them a lot tastier than eating the oil right out of the bottle.
Remember to consult with your physician before you start using coconut oil for weight loss, as well as before beginning any other weight loss or exercise plan. Any weight loss you do experience could be due to the increase in metabolism from the medium chain fatty acids in the coconut oil, a reduction in your calories or the increase in physical activity.
Using Coconut Oil for Weight Loss Research References:
Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obesity Research. 2003 Mar;11(3):395-402.
Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue. International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders. 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71.
Dietary medium-chain triacylglycerols suppress accumulation of body fat in a double-blind, controlled trial in healthy men and women. Lose weight with coconut oil research. Journal of Nutrition. 2001 Nov;131(11):2853-9.
Overfeeding with medium-chain triglyceride diet results in diminished deposition of fat. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1983 Jan;37(1):1-4.