One of most people’s goals in life is having a slim, healthy and attractive body. For many individuals, this means losing a little or a lot of body fat and weight.
Along with eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise, three more important keys to achieving weight loss are controlling the appetite, boosting the metabolism and regulating hormone production. These factors help the body to burn more fat than it stores, particularly from around the waist.
Including organic coconut oil in the diet works to produce these positive weight loss effects because it helps to balance blood sugar and hormone levels to avoid the highs and lows that lead to extreme hunger, overeating and craving the wrong foods.
Coconut oil comes from the processed nut from the coconut palm and is a rich source of healthy saturated fats (lauric acid, caprilic acid and capric acid). Along with not raising serum low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol significantly, coconut oil helps the body to feel full and satisfied long after eating a meal.
Along with its appetite suppressing properties, coconut oil is also provides the body with fast burning energy and is heart healthy. In fact, studies prove that populations in countries with diets high in coconut oil, such as the Pacific Islands, India and the Philippines, all have significantly lower rates of obesity and heart disease than populations in countries that do not use coconut oil as the primary source of dietary fat.
The source of coconut oil’s positive effect on body weight comes from its structure. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that the body metabolizes differently than other types of oils that contain mainly long-chain fatty acids.
Instead of being sent to fat cells for storage, medium-chain fatty acids are processed by the liver, turned into ketone bodies and quickly sent out to the muscles to be used for energy. Over time, this process has a dramatic effect on total weight and body fat levels.
Coconut oil is also very beneficial for people suffering with epilepsy because the condition responds well to a ketogenic diet.
The power of consuming medium-chain fatty acids for preventing unwanted fat and weight gain was revealed in a study in which mice were fed foods containing either long or medium-chain fatty acids. The results showed that the mice that ate MCT’s gained significantly less weight than the mice who ate long-chain fatty acids.
If eating coconut oil can have such a positive effect on the weight of lab rats, what kind of benefits can human beings expect to get from adding it to their diet?
How Does Coconut Oil Work For Weight Loss?
Coconut oil helps the body to lose unwanted weight because of the way it is structured and how the body processes it during digestion.
The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil dissolve in water more easily than those in oils such as canola or olive. This makes it easier for the body to access them for energy, which it does instead of routing the fatty acids to fat cells for storage.
This prevents body fat from increasing, while burning more of the fat that is eaten in the daily diet.
Studies show that MCT oil and coconut oil have similar effects on weight loss when included as a part of a low-calorie diet and exercise plan. Participants took between one and two tablespoons of MCT oil and saw an average of seven pounds of weight loss over the study period.
In contrast, other participants supplemented with the same amount of olive oil and only lost an average of three pounds during the same period.
The study concluded that the medium-chain triglycerides in the oil produced the dramatic difference in the final weight loss results.
Another study revealed that just one or two tablespoons of coconut oil burns an average of an extra 120 calories each day, which amounts to a five percent increase in the body’s metabolic rate.
Despite this evidence, many health professionals do not recommend using coconut oil on a regular basis because of the high levels of saturated fat that it contains (twelve grams per tablespoon, which is higher than butter).
The following are additional factors that explain why coconut oil is so effective for losing extra body fat and weight.
- Coconut oil contains mostly medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are highly effective compared to long-chain fatty acids for reducing excess weight.
- Coconut oil’s MCT levels increase the body’s ability to burn fat as energy, which boosts the metabolism and reduces fat storage.
- Coconut oil gets rid of candida (yeast infection), which is a condition that many overweight and obese people suffer with that prevents them from losing weight permanently. Once candida clears, symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, cravings and stress also go away.
- Natural coconut oil helps to detoxify the system by cleaning out the cells of the body, particularly those in the digestive tract, which increases weight loss and boosts overall health and wellness.
- Consuming coconut oil regularly helps to improve the way the liver processes fat, quickly turning it into energy to fuel the brain and muscles of the body.
- Because MCTs are not stored in the body, eating coconut oil prevents heart problems associated with clogged arteries and other related issues.
What is the Best Type of Coconut Oil for Weight Loss?
When consuming coconut oil to lose weight, the type used is very important.
Because of the amount of options available for buying coconut oil in grocery stores and online, here are some useful tips for selecting the best one.
- Only use coconut oils that are manufactured by trusted brands to ensure high quality. Popular brands include Nutiva, Alpha DME and Artisana.
- Use the most natural and unprocessed coconut oil available since they have the highest number of micronutrients. The labels of these products usually feature words such as unrefined, pure, organic, virgin and extra virgin.
- Avoid refined and processed coconut oils that have additives, preservatives and chemicals in them.
- Select cold-pressed coconut oils for their high antioxidant content, which helps to boost weight loss.
- If unprocessed coconut oil is not available, use expeller-pressed (refined) coconut oil as a less effective option, being aware that it will not boost weight loss as much as a natural and unprocessed oil.
- Store coconut oil for a maximum of two years before throwing out any that is left over.
Consumed on a regular and consistent basis, coconut oil has many beneficial properties that support and enhance weight loss, which include the following:
- Boosts Resting Metabolism
An individual’s metabolism determines how quickly or slowly it processes food for energy. However, when it comes to being broken down by the body, all calories are not equal.
Depending on the type of food eaten and the kind of nutrients it contains, the digestive system and metabolism adjust accordingly to get the job done. This fact is important because of how hormonal health and metabolism are affected by the kinds of food eaten on a regular basis.
Some foods require a lot more energy to be digested properly, while other foods need less energy. Compared to other sources of fat, coconut oil requires more of energy from the digestive system to break it down into nutrients that the body can use. This process is known as the thermogenic effect.
A study revealed that as little as one to two tablespoons of coconut oil (medium-chain triglycerides) has the ability to increase resting metabolic rate by five percent or an average of one hundred and twenty calories each day.
This means that by replacing other types of fat in the diet (like butter or olive oil) with the same number of calories in coconut oil, more calories are burned and more fat and weight are lost, even if general diet and exercise habits do not change.
- Reduces Hunger and Appetite
The weight loss process can be broken down into a very simple formula known as calories in versus calories out. If the body burns more calories than it gets through the diet, weight loss is the only possible result.
However, the problem with this is that many people find it very hard to reduce the amount of food they eat on a daily basis. The key is to find ways to reduce the hunger and large appetite that usually go along with trying to lose body fat and weight.
Taken before meals, the MCT in coconut oil increases satiety and the feelings of fullness after eating. This prevents an individual from overeating, which makes it easier for them to stick to a low-calorie diet and lose weight.
The reason why coconut oil is an effective appetite suppressant lies in the way that the liver metabolizes this type of fat. During digestion, coconut oil is converted into ketone bodies, which reduce hunger dramatically.
In fact, studies show that healthy and active men who consume lots of MCTs each day tend to eat an average of 256 calories less than usual.
- Reduces Harmful Visceral Fat
While the amount of scale weight lost by consuming coconut oil is not usually very high, regular use produces a dramatic difference in the amount of belly fat that an individual has.
Visceral (abdominal) fat is the most dangerous kind of fat to have on the body because it gathers in and around internal organs, preventing them from functioning properly. This leads to long-term health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and inflammation.
Along with dropping excess weight, losing fat, particularly from around the midsection is the key to cutting the risk of chronic diseases, boosting the health of the metabolism and increasing life expectancy.
Studies show that coconut oil helps to decrease waist size by removing much of the visceral fat that collects in that area of the body. However, the same study revealed that the oil does not have a similar dramatic effect for losing overall body weight or body mass index (BMI).
How Much Coconut Oil for Weight Loss?
An important factor for using coconut oil effectively for weight loss is figuring out how much of it to include in the diet to see results.
Nutritional experts recommend consuming specific amounts of coconut oil based on total body weight.
- 90-130 lbs: Take one tablespoon of coconut oil three times a day (3 tablespoons total).
- 131-180 lbs: Take one and a half tablespoons of coconut oil three times a day (4.5 tablespoons total).
- 180 lbs or more: Take two tablespoons of coconut oil three times a day (6 tablespoons total).
Note: Coconut oil works best for weight loss when taken before each meal during the day.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
After figuring out how much coconut oil to consume for weight loss, the next step is knowing how to use it to lose unwanted weight.
The chemical structure of coconut oil makes it go from liquid to solid at a temperature equal to or lower than seventy six degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it essential to melt the oil before drinking or eating it.
If the goal is satiety and appetite suppression, the best time to take coconut oil is approximately twenty minutes before eating a meal. Doing this regularly results in feeling fuller while eating smaller food portions.
- The simplest way to take coconut oil is by putting it directly into the mouth and allowing body heat to melt it for a few seconds before swallowing the liquid.
Warning: Taking coconut oil can initially cause feelings of queasiness. To help the gallbladder and liver to adapt, take herbal bitters which is cheap and effective for providing relief.
Additional methods for using coconut oil
Along with the straightforward consumption of coconut oil, there are many other ways to include it in the daily diet to encourage weight loss and boost the metabolism.
One option is melting the coconut oil in a hot liquid before drinking it.
- Add one to two tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil to a cup and pour hot water over it.
- Stir the coconut oil until it melts completely before drinking.
Another option is adding lemon juice to melted coconut oil to improve its flavor.
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a glass before adding a lemon wedge to it as well.
- Add one to two tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil to the glass before filling it with warm water.
- Stir until the coconut oil is completely melted and sip slowly until it is finished.
Drink coconut oil combined with green tea for a fat burning beverage that also boost the immune system and burns belly fat.
- Fill a cup with hot water before adding two teaspoons of green tea leaves.
- Let the tea steep for three to five minutes before removing the leaves with a strainer.
- Stir one teaspoon of coconut oil into the tea allowing it to melt completely.
- Sip the mixture slowly until it is finished.
Add coconut oil to flavorful foods and drinks to disguise its taste.
- Melt one or two tablespoons of coconut before adding it to yogurt, fruit juice, protein shakes, cottage cheese, smoothies or apple sauce.
- Use equal amounts of coconut and olive oils to make a salad dressing.
- Add a few teaspoons of coconut oil to freshly steamed vegetables before eating them.
- Combine honey, cinnamon and coconut oil to make a spread to eat with toast or crackers.
Apart from eating or drinking coconut oil directly, it is one of the best oils to use for cooking whether trying to lose weight or not.
This is because the fat in coconut oil is extremely resistant to heat and does not transform into hydrogenated fat (which is dangerous to health and wellbeing) during the cooking process.
The following are some of the different ways to use coconut oil for cooking healthier meals that support losing weight and excess fat from the body.
Because of its tolerance for high temperatures, coconut oil is an excellent substitute for fats usually used for baking, such as shortening, butter and vegetable oil. It can be used to make many kinds of baked goods including scones, cupcakes, muffins, cookies and brownies.
However, because coconut oil is solid at room temperature and below, it is important to melt the oil thoroughly before using it to make a batter or dough.