Whether you want to drop that last ten pounds or simply maintain the weight you’re at, utilizing coconut oil in your diet can help you lose weight.
Not so long ago coconut oil was not favored by health advocates due to its high saturated fat content, but it has since been deemed healthier and in fact, can successfully help people shed a few pounds over time.
Coconut oil may be comprised of 90% saturated fat, but scientists state that its fat is largely made up of lauric acid, which is a medium-chain saturated fatty acid (MCT) that actually has a better effect on the heart than the other saturated fats.
Therefore, you have permission to add coconut oil into your diet in order to promote health and possibly lose weight as well.
Backing up these claims are reports from countries like India and the Philippines, whose diets prominently feature coconuts and coconut products. Citizens from such countries tend to have less weight issues and have minimal rates of cardiac diseases as compared to individuals from the developed world.
In this article I am going to explain to you how to use coconut oil for weight loss.
Coconut Oil for Weight Loss – The Studies
When it comes to weight loss, metabolism is a big deal, so the faster you can get your metabolism going, the more calories your body will burn. Coconut oil is different from most other fats we consume in our diet. While most other oils mostly contain long-chain fatty acids (LCT), coconut oil consists almost entirely of medium chain fatty acids (MCT).
The thing with these medium chain fatty acids (MCTs), is that they are metabolized differently than the longer chain fats. Reduced chain length means that MCTs are more quickly absorbed by the body and more quickly metabolized (burned) as fuel.
The result is quicker metabolism and instead of being stored as fat, the calories in MCTs are very efficiently converted into fuel for immediate use by organs and muscles in our body.
One study investigated the effects of MCT oil on weight: it compared between rats who were overfed with either long chain or medium chain fats. The study found that the rats fed the medium chain fats gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat.1
Coconut oil is also considered “thermogenic”, which essentially means that when you eat it, it tends to increase the amount of fat burning going on in your body more so than the other oils that you could be consuming.2
There were other studies about MCT oil and weight loss:
One study found that relatively low-to-moderate intake of MCT (15-30 g per day) as part of a person’s diet may play a role in controlling human body composition by enhancing daily energy expenditure by 5% which is 500 kilojoules (120 calories) per day.3
Another study on obese women showed that long-term consumption of MCT enhances energy expenditure when compared to long chain fatty acids consumption.4
Other studies have found that coconut oil helps to reduce appetite. The Journal of Nutrition mentions animal studies of rats fed on MCT. The rats felt more satiated, which lead to a reduction in calorie intake.5
One small study on men showed that consuming a high amount of MCTs caused them to automatically consume less calories per day.6 Another study found that men who ate MCTs at breakfast delayed their request for lunch and their lunch was significantly smaller compared to the low fat breakfast. 7
There are other foods that can boost your metabolism and you can have a look at them in my article top 10 foods to boost your metabolism. If you are really serious about boosting your metabolism you should also be aware of these 10 factors that affect your metabolism.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
There are essentially two types of coconut oil — virgin and refined.
- Virgin coconut oil (VCO), is made by pressing fresh coconut meat, milk or milk residue.
- Refined, or RBD, oil is made from the coconut copra or dried kernel and may be chemically treated.
Choose virgin coconut oil because it is prepared with no chemicals in the process.
In order to use coconut oil for weight loss, you can use it in several ways. These include:
With nuts being so healthy for your body, consider preparing nut butter for good health and weight loss.
To prepare this, grind two cups of cashews or almonds with two tablespoons of coconut oil until the mixture is smooth and buttery. You can throw in some honey, ground coffee, cinnamon, or maple syrup to add more flavor. Feel free to use nut butter on toast, English muffins, or bagels for a delicious and healthy breakfast.
Nuts have amazing health benefits – I’ve already written a post about the health benefits of nuts (including delicious recipes).
Since coconut oil can be used under high temperatures, you can use it to replace butter when baking foods like cookies, muffins, cakes, and brownies. Coconut oil can be used to substitute other oils (as well as butter) in nearly all baking recipes. To bake with coconut oil, replace your other oil by using a 1:1 ratio.
Vegetables like zucchini, beets, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash can be brushed with a mixture of thyme, lemon juice, coconut oil, salt and paper to give them a desirable coconut flavor. Go ahead and sauté them using coconut oil or brush them with it and cook them on the grill. There’s nothing like grilled vegetables!
Coconut oil is known to nicely pop corn kernels when it is used instead of normal vegetable fat. Hold off on the butter to maximize your weight loss regimen.
You can add coconut oil to your smoothies or other beverages, such as your morning coffee.
Adding Coconut Oil to your Daily Diet – General Guidelines
You might reach for your jar of coconut oil and see that it has solidified. This is because coconut oil usually solidifies at 76 degrees Fahrenheit. It is completely safe to use coconut oil in its solid state but if you want to use coconut oil to replace you normal oil, you can dip the jar into a hot water bath before using it.
The best time to consume coconut oil is about a half an hour before mealtimes, as coconut oil has satiating effects that makes you feel fuller, thus helping in weight loss.
If you want to consume coconut oil by the tablespoon, the recommendation is to take up to 3 tablespoons daily per adult.
Coconut Oil and Weight Loss – What About the Calories
It is important to be aware that coconut oil is fat – it contains 9 calories per gram. If you want to use coconut oil to lose weight, you need to take into consideration the added calorie intake of the coconut oil. Especially if you consume a fixed amount of calories.
But, most people don’t count calories and in these cases, adding coconut oil to your diet will reduce your appetite and probably make you eat less of other foods instead.