There has been a lot of hype recently about coconut oil and its many and varied health benefits.
Coconut oil has been said to help with weight loss, especially fat that is carried around the waist or middle (belly fat). In this post, we will be looking at some scientifically proven evidence to show that the oil from the humble coconut really is a true ‘super food’ and can help you with your weight loss plan.
Coconut oil, rightly takes it place amongst these other weight loss boosting oils:- avocado oil, Canola oil and linseed oil.
Coconut oil and Fat
Whether you have just joined a slimming club such as Weight Watchers, started that new diet and exercise regime or are running out of motivation for weight loss, adding a little bit of organic coconut oil to your diet may just give you that weight loss boost, as well as some other great health benefits.
For many years, nutritionists and the health world have advocated the low fat diet, however, dramatically cutting down on fats leads to an increased carbohydrate and sugar intake which is counterproductive to weight loss. Indeed, many foods high in natural fats, such as meat, eggs and some oils, are full of healthy, essential nutrients. Coconut oil has come under criticism in the past due to its high fat content, so let’s take a look at fats in more detail.
Good Fat, Bad Fat and Fat Fat
To begin with, the term ‘fat’ denotes a substance, which is chemically known as glyceride that is supported by a glycerol backbone. As many as 3 fatty acids can be affixed to this glycerol backbone. This is why fats are usually referred to as triglycerides.
Fat intake from foods is actually essential to the well-being of the body. In addition, fat aids digestion in the intestine of certain vitamins including vitamins A, D, E and K.
Furthermore, fat is a vital source of energy for the body and contains essential fatty acids that are used to promote healthy cell functioning. Fat also plays a major role in the health of our nervous system; the brain and nerves contain large amounts of fat.
So, despite all the bad press and promotion of very low-fat diets, fat is necessary for health. The key to dietary fat intake lies in balance – getting the right amount of fats and taking the right type. However, there has been a lot of confusion around which fats are healthy and which lead to heart disease, stroke and other health issues … so let’s take a closer look …
Saturated fat: Most saturated fats are ‘solid fats’ and are found naturally in meat and dairy products such as cheese, milk, butter, cream and ice cream. For many years now low-fat diets have dominated our thinking regarding weight loss, but it really is time to rethink. According to a 2010 meta-analysis study of over 21 scientific studies involving 350,000 people there is NO correlation between the intake of saturated fat and increased likelihood of heart disease or stroke. It is the source and type of fat that is important. Indeed, some fats are actually beneficial to heart and brain health.
Non-saturated fats: take a liquid form and are derived from vegetables and plants and can be divided into 2 groups:-
- Monounsaturated fats: This type of fat is found in olives, olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, nuts and avocados. These fats are believed to have health benefits – just take a look at the Mediterranean diet for evidence. These fats also are believed to reduce LDL cholesterol and improve cardiac and vascular health.
- Polyunsaturated fats: are found mainly in vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, soybean oil and corn oil. Fatty fish, contains the magic health-boosting ingredient Omega 3 fatty acid is also a polyunsaturated fat. These fats, in several studies have been seen to lower LDL cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels.
- Trans-fats: Now these are the fats to actually avoid like the plague. They are artificially produced and present in margarine, snack foods like cakes, biscuits and donuts and most processed foods. Trans-fats raise the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and lower the HDL (good) cholesterol levels. In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have now recognised trans-fats as NOT ‘generally recognised as safe‘. This has led to a 3 year deadline so that all trans-fats are to be removed from processed foods by the year 2018.
Exactly how Coconut Oil aids Weight Loss
Even though coconut oil’s main component is saturated fat scientific studies have shown that it is beneficial to weight loss and health. This is what we mean when stressing the importance of the amount and type of fat consumed for health. One of the main keys for being successful in reducing weight is to ensure that there is a regular supply of blood sugar to the body. This will avoid wild fluctuations in blood sugar levels leading to artificial hunger pangs. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain trigylcerides (MCT’s) which are transported directly from the intestinal tract to the liver and are immediately available for energy use.
The Science Behind Weight loss and Coconut Oil
Coconut oil turns into solid form when it is exposed to temperatures of 76 degrees Fahrenheit and above. For maximum effect, coconut oil should be taken around 20 minutes before your mealtime.
This helps decrease your appetite and makes you feel more quickly satiated after eating.
To melt the coconut oil, pour no more than two tablespoonfuls of it into an empty mug, add hot water and if you prefer, add herbal tea. Stir the mixture vigorously to completely melt the coconut oil and then simply drink it. Remember to use extra virgin coconut oil or organic coconut oil.
Weight Loss success story using Coconut Oil ~ A personal Tale by John.
Coconut oil is one of the most popular type of foods that has been proven to help lose weight. There are several benefits associated with the use of coconut oil.
Coconut oil enhances the ability of the body to shed extra fats. These facts have not only been proven by scientists, but have been evident in the numerous tropical traditions that have used coconut oil for generations.
The benefits of using coconut oil range from improved thyroid function and hormone health to increased metabolism. Having tried numerous synthetic weight loss supplements to reduce the saturated fats in my body, I decided to give coconut oil a try.
My own Research
After extensive research, I learned that the medium-chain fatty acids, also known as triglycerides, found in coconut oil, are extracted in relatively higher amounts.
Compared to most types of saturated fats (such as the fatty acids contained in dairy products and meat) the essential fatty acids found in coconut oil metabolizes differently.
According to researchers, the digested saturated fat is not stored in the form of fats in the human body. Instead, the fatty acids are transferred directly to the liver where they are converted into energy. After adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil in my daily diet, I realized that my energy levels were increased and boosted throughout the whole day.
Other benefits of Coconut Oil
There are other benefits of coconut oil, often described as nature’s bounty, besides increased energy, in the process of the essential medium chain fatty acids from coconut oil being transported to the liver.
When these fatty acids are converted into energy, certain essential bodies are formed that help to reduce cravings and hunger. This has helped me lose weight as I reduced my consumption of excess fats as well as unhealthy foods.
However, to achieve the full effects of curbing craving and hunger, I ensured that I took the coconut oil in my diet three times a day. This helped me kick out the habit of eating heavy foods between meals as well as unhealthy snacks.
The Weight Loss
Coconut oil also helps to burn body fats faster and effectively, without compromising your general health.
After using coconut oil for a while, I noticed that I managed to reduce my daily caloric intake, leading to faster weight loss. Coconut oil is well known to enhance the body’s ability to absorb nutrients and digest food such that you eat less food without feeling tired or weak.
It is also known to be an effective natural mood elevator especially when taken on a daily basis. The extra-virgin coconut oil I took helped to reduce my stress levels as well as keeping me motivated to engage in healthy cardiovascular activities, necessary to burn off persistent fats even faster.
Even after losing the stubborn belly fat, regular consumption of coconut oil ensured that I maintained the fat-burning ability by regulating appetite, improving digestion as well as leaving me feeling great and healthy.
After using coconut for around 6 months, I noticed numerous other health benefits. The oil helped to stabilize my blood sugar levels (which may help with the treatment of diabetes), balanced my hormones as well as improving the absorption of nutrients. In addition, coconut oil helps protect my skin, boost my thyroid and fuels metabolism. In one scientific study coconut oil was proven to improve the quality of life of breast cancer patients.
Questions and Answers
I’ve been told that taking coconut oil can reduce belly fat. I have quite a large tummy and I’m wondering if there is any evidence behind this claim.
I’ve heard a lot of other health benefits are associated with using and taking coconut oil?
Yes, there are a huge amount of claims associated with coconut oil benefits that have been doing the rounds for some time. This subject is a whole new post in itself and here are but a few.
- Coconut oil has powerful antibiotic and antiseptic properties. Lauric acid that is present in coconut oil, when combined with Monolaurin can kill bacterial and fungal infections and viruses. This is why it is often used as a mouth wash (known as oil pulling) to promote gum and oral hygiene.
- Coconut oil is being trialled for the treatment of epilepsy and seizures.
- Coconut oil has been claimed to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood
- Because fat is very important in the functioning of the nervous system, coconut oil has been indicated for the prevention of dementias such as alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil is said to improve brain function and memory
- Prevents high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Reduces inflammation and arthritis
- May prevent or be useful in the treatment of certain cancers. See the study on breast cancer patients and improved quality of life.
- Can be used as a natural, non-chemical skin and beauty care product.
What is the difference between Refined coconut oil and Unrefined coconut oil?
I’ve heard a lot about MCT oil for weight loss, what is this?
Most foods contain long-chain triglycerides (LCT), but some super foods such as coconut oil contain medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). MCT’s are believed to be effective in weight loss because they are not stored as fat cells but provide quick energy for the body, increasing the number of calories burned which helps lose weight. This is why coconut oil and weight loss are so heavily linked.
However large companies have caught onto the popularity of coconut oil and have manufactured MCT oil, cleverly marketing it as ‘liquid coconut’ The removal of MCT’s from coconut oil involves a refining process by machine and typically, a chemical recombination using a synthetic vegetable base.
Virgin coconut oil on the other hand, is completely natural and extracted from the nut, it contains all the four MCT’s, particularly lauric acid. It stands to reason eat organic products (coconut oil) rather than highly refined (MCT oil).
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- Liau MK, Lee YY, Chen CK, Hanum A Rasool G. (2011) An Open-Label Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Virgin Coconut Oil in Reducing Visceral Adiposity ISRN Pharmacol. 2011: 949686. (Retrieved March 20th 2016) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22164340
- St-Onge MP1, Bosarge A. (2008) Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6. (Retrieved March 20th 2016) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18326600