We are well aware of the many benefits of coconut oil. Be it brightening the skin, preventing split ends, boosting brain function, or raising good cholesterol; coconut oil offers a whole range of benefits. This healthy oil is also fast becoming a popular choice for people who are trying to lose weight. Often known as the miracle oil, coconut oil can boost metabolism, reduce hunger, and prevent fat accumulation. Keep reading this article to know more about how coconut oil helps in weight loss.
Coconut oil is an edible oil that is extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. Coconut oil contains 80 to 90 % saturated fats, which gives it a firm texture at cold and room temperatures. There are many types of saturated fats in coconut oil. The most prominent is lauric acid (47%). It also contains myristic acid and palmitic acid, which are known to raise LDL cholesterol levels. Coconut oil contains small amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Coconut oil does not contain any cholesterol or fiber and has only trace amounts of vitamins, minerals, and plant sterols.
One tablespoon of coconut oil contains (1) –
- 120 calories
- 14 grams of fat
- 5 grams of saturated fat
- 2 grams of polyunsaturated fat
- 8 grams of monounsaturated fat
How does coconut oil help in weight loss?
When it comes to weight loss, coconut oil is quite useful. Several studies show that coconut oil can boost metabolism, keep you full and lower your belly fat.
Coconut oil contains a specific kind of fat known as the medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Medium-chain triglycerides include capric, caprylic, caproic, and lauric acid. Unlike long-chain triglycerides, MCTs are rapidly and directly absorbed into the bloodstream.
According to a study by the School of Dietetics and Nutrition, McGill University, Canada, long term consumption of a diet that contains MCTs will help you burn more calories than a food that includes LCTs (2). When your body uses MCTs for fuel instead of glucose, your body metabolism is boosted. When you eat these fats, they go straight to the liver and are used for energy.
There are several studies on the metabolism-boosting effects of MCTs but not so many on coconut oil. We must also be aware that coconut oil is rich in calories. Overeating of high-calorie foods cannot lead to weight loss.
2. Keeps you full
Coconut oil helps to satiate the hunger for longer than other forms of fats. Studies show that eating fat-rich foods like coconut oil creases a feeling of fullness as compared to meals that contain low-fat food (3). According to a 2013 study from Texas State University, eating foods rich in saturated fats may elicit a more significant satiety response than eating foods rich in monounsaturated fats (4).
Fats can be filling and satiating, but is it wise to overeat fat? According to AHA, we should not be consuming more than 13 grams of saturated fats per day. Some studies have also shown that coconut oil does not improve satiety, as claimed by many people. According to a 2018 study, when 25 women with excess body fat 25 ml of coconut oil during breakfast, it did not reduce their appetite four hours after eating the meal (5).
3. Reduces abdominal fat
Abdominal fat is the most dangerous fat and can lead to many chronic diseases. Coconut oil appears to be effective in reducing abdominal fat. During one study, 40 women aged 20 to 40 years with a waist circumference of more than 88 cm took either 30 ml of coconut oil or soybean oil daily for 12 weeks. The women who took coconut oil showed a reduction in both BMI and waist circumference (6).
During another study, 20 obese but healthy male volunteers took 20 ml virgin coconut oil for four weeks. The results showed a mean reduction of waist circumference by 2.86 cm (7).
If you’re thinking of taking coconut oil as a supplement, start slowly so that your body has time to adjust. You can begin by taking one tablespoon (15 ml) per day. You may experience stomach problems if you take more than that. Gradually increase your intake to two tablespoons in around two weeks.
Studies show that 30 ml (two tablespoons) is an effective dose if you want to gain the health benefits of coconut oil. Two tablespoons of coconut oil provide around 18 grams of MCTs. Studies show low to moderate intake (15 to 30 grams) of MCTs can help enhance metabolic rate (8).
Eating two tablespoons (30 ml) of coconut oil per day also allows you to eat other healthy fats like avocados and olive oil. Each tablespoon of coconut oil contains around 130 calories, so make sure you take only a restricted amount.
How to choose the correct coconut oil?
Purchasing the correct coconut oil can be confusing. You will be bombarded with terms like refined, unrefined, processed, unprocessed, cold-pressed, and expeller pressed. The first thing you must check when buying coconut oil is the smell and the taste. Good coconut oil should smell like fresh coconut. If your coconut oil smells nutty, it means it has been heated and processed. Heating and processing strip the coconut oil of its nutrient content.
Many companies heat the coconuts to extract as much meat as possible from the coconuts. Choose cold-pressed coconut oil to retain healthy nutrients.
Choose coconut oil that comes in a glass bottle. Unlike plastic bottles, glass bottles don’t transfer their taste into the oil, and they help to lock in the nutrients better. Coconut oil that comes in plastic bottles is mass-produced and is generally of lower quality,
Refined coconut oil is odorless and tasteless. If you the RBD on the label of a coconut oil bottle, it means it has been refined, bleached, and deodorized. Opt for coconut oil where you see virgin or extra-virgin on the labels. No chemicals are added while extracting this oil, and it contains the most nutrients.
Ways to include coconut oil to your diet
It is easy to incorporate coconut oil into your daily diet in a nutritionally sound way. You can take a spoonful of coconut oil around 20 minutes before you eat. This helps to increase the feeling of fullness and suppresses appetite. If eating it directly makes you queezy, you can easily add it to your foods. You can use it for cooking, use it in recipes, or even take it as a supplement.
1. Replace your cooking oil with coconut oil
You can use coconut oil for baking and sautéing. Coconut oil has a high smoke point and is very stable at high temperatures. You can use it to coat meat or poultry before you cook it.
2. Substitute for butter
You can use coconut oil as a substitute for butter in a 1 -1 ratio for many recipes. Make sure you mix it with ingredients at room temperature to avoid clumping. You can use it instead of butter to make air-popped popcorns. You can also add coconut oil to smoothies and protein shakes.
3. Add it to beverages
Adding coconut oil to tea, coffee, or herbal tea is an easy way to incorporate it into your diet. Just add a spoon of coconut oil to your hot coffee and stir it in. Some people also blend it into coffee with a blender to make a tropical style coffee.
Drawbacks of coconut oil
Coconut oil is considered safe when taken in controlled amounts. However, this oil does contain fats that can increase cholesterol levels. This may be a problem for people who already have high cholesterol. Many people, who add coconut oil to their morning coffee, use it as a meal replacement. While coconut oil does have some nutrients, it cannot provide all the nutrients that breakfast may provide.
Coconut oil is rich in calories. One tablespoon contains around 130 calories. So, overindulging in this oil can lead to weight gain. People with gall bladder issues and pancreatitis are advised to limit their fat intake. Coconut oil may not be suitable for them. Use coconut oil to replace the unhealthy fats found in processed foods.
Coconut oil is Studies show that 30 ml (two tablespoons) is an effective dose if you want to gain the health benefits of coconut oil. Edible oil extracted from the meat of mature coconuts. It offers many health benefits, including weight loss. It contains a specific kind of fat known as the medium-chain triglycerides, which help to boost metabolism. Studies also show that coconut oil helps to satiate the hunger for longer than other forms of fats. It is also useful in reducing dangerous abdominal fat.
While there are many types of coconut oils available in the market, virgin and organic coconut oil is the best as they retain many of the nutrients o the coconut. Studies show that two tablespoons are an effective dose if you want to gain the health benefits of coconut oil. Consuming more than this can increase cholesterol levels. It may even lead to weight gain.