It has been described as the next miracle cure-all from weight loss to thyroid and even Parkinson’s disease.
The internet is full of the miraculous benefits of coconut oil. But what is the truth behind the hype, does coconut oil help with weight loss as is claimed?
Let us examine the facts and see for ourselves.
Composition of Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a saturated oil and can be solid at room temperature. The oil has 92% saturated fat.
However, it is free of cholesterol, which may be the reason for the claim that it is good for the heart. Coconut oil is also very rich in medium chain fatty acids.
Metabolism of Medium Fatty Acids
According to some studies, it has been discovered that liver can metabolize medium chain fatty acid more efficiently than long chain fatty acids. MCTFAs are easily utilized by the liver, meaning that they are not stored in the adipose tissue like the LCFAs.
Medium chain fatty acids are also proven to have thermogenesis effect in the body, meaning that they help to increase fat burning ability of your body.
This may be the reason why many experts believe that using coconut oil can help you lose weight.
It is then a good idea to use coconut oil instead of other less healthy oils to encourage more efficient metabolism of fats in your body.
How Does Coconut Oil Help With Weight Loss?
Experts who believe in the power of coconut in weight management cite the following reasons for their claim:
- Helps to Control Appetite and Cravings – The fatty acids that constitute coconut oil are mostly medium chain triglycerides that are easily metabolized by the liver and turned to ketones. These ketones, prevent the brain from recognizing the hunger signal and curb the feeling of hunger and food cravings.
- Raises Your Energy levels – Since the metabolism of coconut oil is easier and it is not stored in the adipose tissue, but is converted into energy, there is more energy available for the body and one does not feel fatigued.
- Helps to Burn Fat – Coconut oil encourages the body to digest food more efficiently and absorb the micro-nutrients from the food. It also helps to burn off stored fat, especially around the middle and belly (belly fat), which is the most dangerous fat of all.
- Balances Your Hormones – Hormones regulate almost all the body functions including our mood. Coconut oil is helpful in balancing the hormones in the body. Studies indicate that it may be helpful in controlling and preventing thyroid disorder, which could lead to a number of problems including weight gain.
- Regulates Blood Sugar Levels – It helps to control insulin production in the body and maintains blood sugar levels.
How Do You Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss and Management?
1 table spoon of pure virgin coconut oil contains 12 grams saturated fat, 14 grams of fat and a total of 117 calories – yes it is quite high in fats and calories. This means, if you use it in addition to your normal diet, chances are you will gain weight instead of losing.
So the best way to use coconut oil if you are looking to lose weight is by replacing most of your cooking oils and fats with coconut oil. You can use it as spread on your bread instead of butter or mayonnaise.
Experts suggest using only 2 table spoons (30 grams) of coconut a day.
The main benefits of coconut oil are derived by the way it is metabolized in the body. Since it is easy to digest by the liver, it is good for the overall health.
As it is not stored in the body’s adipose tissue, but converted into energy, so your body has more energy to spend and is less stressed and fatigued. It has a positive impact on your mood and hormone levels which help to control insulin levels whilst preventing hunger and cravings.
It is therefore a good idea to substitute coconut oil for other fats in your food. But remember, it is a fat and should only be used in moderation.