Coconut oil has become one of the most highly recommended foods for overall health. However, what some people don’t know is that, despite being a rich source of fats, coconut oil is actually a great tool to help you lose weight if used properly.
Exactly how does coconut oil supposedly help in burning off excess pounds? And even if coconut oil does help with weight loss and fat burning, how long do its effects last? Let’s find out more about what makes coconut oil such as highly touted supplement for weight loss and healthy eating:
Coconut oil is a rich source of medium-chain fats
There are a number of reasons why coconut oil remains a mainstay in many weight loss diets. One of these reasons is the fact that coconut oil is a rich source of fat compounds called medium-chain triglycerides or MCT.
In addition, the fats that the body does not need immediately get stored in the adipose tissues. As a result, they end up contributing to weight gain.
On the other hand, the body usually metabolizes MCT as it would carbohydrates. MCTs travel directly to the liver from the digestive tract. In the liver, they get transformed into energy the body can readily use.
The liver also converts MCT into ketone bodies the brain can use for fuel in lieu of glucose. The body doesn’t stash MCT away as stored fat.
But what about actually shedding off that stored fat? According to a study, MCT can increase your body’s metabolism. The higher your body’s metabolism level is, the more capable it becomes of burning off your excess fat.
Coconut oil has thermogenic properties
Another reason why coconut oil is considered food for weight loss is it has thermogenic properties. This means eating coconut oil can help you burn off more stored fat.
When we eat, the food we eat is supposed to supply the body with nutrients, as well as energy in the form of calories.
But digesting and absorbing food also requires the body to burn calories. The calories burned off when digesting food usually comes from the body’s stored fat.
Food is considered thermogenic if the calories from fats needed to digest it is greater than the food’s calorie content. So, thermogenic food is food that can help you burn fat.
A study has shown that MCT in coconut oil has thermogenic properties and can, therefore, help burn more body fat.
Another study has claimed that consuming around one or two tablespoons of MCT daily can bring up the fat burning by 5%. This 5% translates to around 120 calories per day.
Coconut oil can help reduce appetite
Coconut oil is supposed to help curb the appetite and make you eat less. This is yet another reason why weight loss gurus love including this oil in their diet regimens.
To make weight loss happen, you have to create a calorie deficit in your body. This means the calories you burn must be greater than the calories you eat.
When your calorie burn is greater than your intake, you force your body to use up your stored fat to make up for the burn. This is a basic principle behind weight loss.
Research has revealed that when you consume food with MCT like coconut oil, you get to feel full more easily. You won’t feel inclined to eat more, which leads you to reduce your calorie intake. This can lead to the calorie deficit you need to experience in order to lose weight.
Cutting calories? Keep a close eye on your coconut oil intake
As far as the science goes, coconut oil has properties that will help you lose weight. Coconut oil does this by increasing your metabolism and your calorie deficit.
However, you should always bear in mind that there are always two sides to every story. And in the story of coconut oil, there are experts who believe that coconut oil does not really do much for shedding the pounds.
Why do they think so? These experts argue that coconut oil is a high-calorie oil. A tablespoon of this stuff contains 117 calories. So, consuming coconut oil may not contribute much to weight loss after all.
The presence of extra calories in your system may lead your brain to instruct your body to store them up as fat. In this case, you will end up gaining weight rather than shedding it off.
Balance is the key
There’s no denying that the MCT in coconut oil can help you lose weight and burn the extra fat off your body. That’s what the evidence points to.
But dissenting experts also have a point in saying that coconut oil may not help much because of its high calorie content.
So what do you do? To take advantage of the proven weight loss properties of MCT without getting hampered by the calories in coconut oil, you have to create a balance.
And that means sticking to a healthy exercise and diet regimen instead of relying entirely on coconut oil.
Remember, weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit in your body. To increase your calorie burn, you have to move your body vigorously for at least 30 minutes a day.
You can spend that time working out at the gym, going for a run, walking your dog, gardening outdoors – anything that keeps you moving.
And sure, the MCT in coconut oil can reduce your appetite and make you feel full quickly. But to make your calorie intake work for you, you need to make sure your meals are balanced and loaded with nutrition.
You should also steer clear of junk food and overly processed foods. Make every calorie that passes through your mouth count towards your weight loss.
What are the best ways to use coconut oil in your meals?
It’s recommended that you take in no more than two tablespoons of coconut oil a day. This amount is enough to help you take advantage of the benefits of MCT in this oil.
The easiest way to consume coconut oil is to simply down these two tablespoons in a single gulp. It’s not guaranteed to taste good all the time, though, especially when there are tastier alternatives.
So, how do you use coconut oil in your meals? Here are a few suggestions:
- Use coconut oil to cook stir-fry. Stir-frying is an excellent way to make a meal. As the name suggests, you only need to stir meat and veggies in hot oil in a pan. You can either season it simply or add an Asian-inspired sauce to the pan so the dish would be more flavorful. Instead of using olive oil or vegetable oil, you can use coconut oil. Stir-frying meat and veggies in coconut oil will impart a nutty flavor and a tropical vibe to the dish.
- Substitute butter with coconut oil. In baking and in cooking, coconut oil can serve as a good substitute for butter. The great thing about coconut oil is it has a high smoke point. Thus, it can tolerate high temperatures well. Also, foods cooked with coconut oil instead of butter tend to feel lighter without losing their richness and flavor.
- Roast with coconut oil. The next time you roast root vegetables or meats like chicken, pork, or turkey, give them a coconut oil rub first. Coconut oil will work just as well as olive oil. It will also deepen the flavor of your roasted food.
- Make your own nut butter. Do you love peanut butter? With coconut oil, you won’t have to buy peanut butter anymore. You can simply grind peanuts with coconut oil in your food processor. If you’re not a fan of peanut butter, then you can use other nuts such as almonds or cashews. You can customize the taste of your nut butter even further by adding honey, salt, cinnamon, flax seed, maple syrup, or whatever you fancy.
- Add a little coconut oil to your coffee or tea. If you want to add more flavor to your coffee or tea, you can mix in a tiny teaspoon of coconut oil in it. The coconut oil will make your drink a touch more indulgent without piling on the guilt.
Check out this cool video, which shares three great recipes with coconut oil that you can use every day:
If you’re going to use more coconut oil to your food, make sure you use only virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil. Virgin or extra-virgin coconut oil retains much of its coconut flavor and aroma.
But if you don’t like the taste of coconut to overpower your food, then you can try refined coconut oil instead. Refined coconut oil is lighter and more neutral in taste and smell.
The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil are capable of helping us lose weight and shed off unwanted fat.
Don’t just chug in the coconut oil, though. Remember that coconut oil is a high-calorie oil. You can only benefit from MCT’s fat-burning properties if you combine your coconut oil intake with proper diet and exercise.
Weight loss is just one of the many benefits of coconut oil
After reading all of this, you’re probably convinced that coconut oil is an amazing tool for helping you lose weight. And you’re definitely correct. But did you know that it also has a long list of other health benefits?
From strengthening your digestive and immune systems to helping you prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more, coconut oil is truly a multi-faceted healthy food that everyone should add to their daily regimen.
If you want to know all about how you coconut oil can improve your health and looks, check out Dr. Bruce Fife’s The Coconut Oil Miracle.
A certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician, Dr. Fife has long been considered one of the leading authorities on coconut oil’s countless health benefits.
It’s our go-to resource for coconut oil, and it should definitely be yours, too!