I guess you already know that I like to use coconut oil, not just in skincare but also in the kitchen. I always add some to my morning smoothie and often use it when I cook Indian or other Asian food. Sometimes I even add a spoonful to my tea. I feel like coconut oil is… good for me. As if it somehow ”moisturizes” me from the inside. I guess it sounds odd, but that’s how I feel about it 🙂
I’ve noticed that a lot of people are interested in finding out whether coconut oil can be used for weight loss. I decided to have a closer look at some research on coconut oil. Here’s what I found out:
What kind of a fat is coconut oil?
Coconut oil is extracted from the meat of the coconut. The oil is 90% saturated fat, but although we’ve been warned about the effects saturated fat can have to our LDL cholesterol levels (the ”bad” cholesterol), the fat in coconut oil actually improves our HDL cholesterol levels (the ”good” cholesterol) more than other fats. This is probably because a large part of the saturated fat in coconut oil is made up of lauric acid.
Lauric acid is used as a medicine as it seems to have many health benefits and these medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) are the reason people believe coconut oil could help with weight loss as well. It is actually claimed, that the MCFAs are not even deposited in fat depots in our body but instead go directly to liver where they are oxidized to energy.
Research on coconut oil
There have been several small studies on how coconut oil or medium-chain triacylglycerols (MCTs) in general affect weight loss. One of these studies show that a breakfast that included MCTs kept a group of volunteers significantly fuller for longer compared to another group with low-fat breakfast. This same group that had MCTs in the morning also had smaller lunch than the second group.
A few other studies have found that consumption of either virgin coconut oil or another oil with MCTs reduced both body weight and abdominal body fat (visceral fat) and resulted in smaller waist among the test group, especially among the male volunteers.
No worries though ladies – Another study showed that taking 2 tablespoons of coconut oil a day reduced abdominal obesity in women. The women investigated had a waist circumference of over 88 cm. The same study showed that coconut oil had no bad effects on cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that coconut oil has positive effects on energy expenditure. This means that your metabolism will increase and you will find it easier to lose and maintain weight.
Most of these studies were quite small, consisting of 10 – 100 volunteers and had a time period of some weeks or months. The encouraging thing though is that they all showed some sort of improvement in health, a lot of them related to loss of body fat. I’m certainly looking forward to reading more studies on this subject in the future!
How should you use coconut oil in order to lose weight
Coconut oil is solid at temperatures below 76 °F / 24 °C and becomes liquid at higher temperatures. I have a jar both in the kitchen and in my bathroom and they are usually both in liquid form in the summer and quite solid in the winter. If you use coconut oil for cooking, it doesn’t matter what form it’s in as it will obviously melt on the pan anyway. If you add it to something cold, like smoothie, you might want to warm it a bit first if it’s solid – just put the jar in warm water for a while or add coconut oil to a small amount of warm water – so that it’s easier to mix the oil in the smoothie.
I do not think that you will lose much weight by just adding coconut to your diet without making other changes. Having said that, I do believe that it will help you by making you feel satiated, fuller. For example when I add coconut oil (just one tablespoon) to my smoothie in the morning, it keeps me full and I can easily make it to lunch without getting hungry. The most important thing in any weight loss program is really to make sure you won’t get too hungry. When you get hungry, that’s when you slip.
If you want to try using coconut oil as a way of curbing your appetite you could try having a spoonful of coconut oil 20 – 30 minutes before mealtime. You can add it to a cup of coffee or tea and see if it helps you control your appetite.
The type of oil you’re looking for is a cold-pressed virgin coconut oil. A jar of coconut oilwill cost you around $/£/€ 10.
How much coconut oil should you use
2 tablespoons a day is a good amount to aim for and it’s pretty much the same amount that has been used in the above mentioned studies on coconut oil. Don’t overdo it because even though it’s good for you it is still fat and has around 900 calories per 100 grams. You might not want to add coconut oil on top of all the other fat that you have in your diet (unless you currently get too little fat from your diet), just replace some of the other fats with coconut oil.
What do you think – have you noticed any changes after adding coconut oil to your diet?
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