Coconut oil and weight loss
The mantra of weight loss is usually eat fewer calories, burn more calories, but these two instructions often seem at odds. After all, if you’re burning more calories or taking fewer in, you’re going to be hungry faster and prone to eat more – it’s a dieter’s vicious cycle.
One of the best answers to this conundrum is the new information coming out about coconut oil. Coconut oil has been getting a lot of attention recently from the health and nutrition community as more and more people are studying and learning about its benefits, particularly its newly-discovered role in weight loss.
What scientists and nutritionists have found is that though high in saturated fat, coconut oil has a chemical makeup unlike any other edible fat, and studies have shown that its unique properties help it to boost metabolism, suppress appetite and helps dieters to shed stubborn weight that other methods are not able to help with.
Though coconut oil was popularly used for baking and frying for years, it came under attack in the 1980s along with all of the other saturated fats that were targeted for causing high cholesterol. Although the switch to vegetable oils was a positive thing for the health of the overall population, recent studies are showing that lumping coconut oil in with the other saturated fats seems to have been a mistake.
Where most saturated fats are made up of long-chain fatty acids (or triglycerides) that take longer to digest and metabolize, coconut oil’s make up consists of more than half lauric acid, the same medium-chain fatty acid found in mother’s breast milk; it is easily digested, and instead of circulating throughout in the blood stream it is metabolised directly in the liver. This means that it is immediately converted to and used as energy rather than being stored as fat. So although more fat calories may be being consumed when you ingest coconut oil, it has the same effect as eating far fewer calories because it is boosting your metabolism; in fact, some people report feeling a warming sensation after having replaced their polyunsaturated fat with coconut oil, which is a direct result of the metabolism speeding up.
One of the most beneficial aspects of coconut oil for weight loss lays in its natural appetite suppressant capabilities. It is well-known that consuming fats promotes a feeling of fullness, but very few fats are healthy. Among the healthy fats (think flaxseed oil, coconut oil and olive oil), only coconut oil makes you feel full and eat less while burning more calories simultaneously.
The recommended dosage of coconut oil to aid in weight loss is three to four tablespoons a day, which is roughly the equivalent of 360 calories, but don’t worry – they will be burned much more quickly than normal calories, and converted to energy immediately. This intake should be added to your diet on a gradual basis to make sure that you tolerate it well. One good way to add more coconut oil to your diet is to add fresh shredded coconut to dishes; this not only increases your coconut oil intake, but adds fiber, which will also make you feel full longer. The best coconut oils to use in recipes are the unrefined extra virgin coconut oils. You can use them in cooking, eat straight off the spoon or add to herbal teas.