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Q. Can Coconut Oil Help You Lose Weight?

By Joyce Hendley, January/February 2009

Can Coconut Oil Help You Lose Weight?

A. There is science to suggest that the tropical oil may cause a slight (temporary) boost in your metabolism.

Anytime you eat, the process of digesting food burns off about 10 percent of the calories you consume. For example, if you consume 500 calories in a meal, your body uses about 50 of those calories to transform food into the energy that fuels your body. But theoretically if you eat a 500-calorie meal and replace the fat from oils or butter with coconut oil, your metabolism will speed up and burn more like 15 percent, or 75 calories.

It comes down to the molecular structure of the oil and how the body digests it. The fatty acids in coconut oil (called medium-chain triacylglycerols, or MCT) are shorter and more water-soluble than those in other oils, such as olive or canola. “So they’re more directly routed to the liver, where they’re readily burned for fuel,” explains Peter Jones, Ph.D., professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Therefore, they have less opportunity to be deposited in fat stores.

But there is no scientific evidence to show that consuming coconut oil helps people lose weight. There is one recent study, however, using an MCT oil, which suggests coconut oil may work in the same way. In the study, 31 overweight men and women followed a low-calorie diet that included just over a tablespoon for women and just under two tablespoons for men each day of either an MCT oil or olive oil. After four months, the MCT-oil users lost an average of 7 pounds; the olive oil group just 3 pounds. The investigators suggested that the metabolic boost produced by the MCT oil likely played a role.

Even if coconut oil does help people lose weight, few nutrition experts recommend it, since coconut oil is loaded with saturated fat: 12 grams in 1 tablespoon versus 7 grams in a tablespoon of butter.

Bottom Line: The extra calorie burn produced by coconut oil might give you a slight edge, but only if you make room by eating less of something else. A tablespoon of any oil sets you back around 120 calories.

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COMMENTS POSTED

Has anyone ever used Coconut Oil for Psoriasis?
Thanks,
Jess

Anonymous

07/27/2015 - 9:07am

You’re welcome

Anonymous

07/09/2015 - 12:40pm

I've been using 1 tsp. coconut oil mixed in a protein shake first thing in the morning. At night time I take 4 coconut oil pills. This has been about 2 weeks now. The energy I have right now is amazing and losing weight, I have been maintaining 163 for a month after losing 40 lbs. I began to use coconut oil to see if it helps. I am on my way to weigh in now... and in the past 2 weeks I have a pound...but i truly feel great and have a lot of energy. With some things it takes more time to for the product to really help. My husband took coconut oil pills every night before he went to sleep for the longest time.. months and months.. He swore he lost weight doing so. I just don't know how much he lost but it did seem to appear to he was losing weight at that time. Proper eating and weight lifting is the best way to lose weight and get healthy. For the first time ever in my life I am lifting weight and losing weight. After 5 months my muscles are cutting in the arms, back and legs.. progress in the stomach. I push so hard my personal trainer has now accepted me as a friend and now i am in training for a body competition show next year. This is good.

Anonymous

06/17/2015 - 6:52am

For good metabolism eat some coconut oil and some actual coconut and take a drop or two of Iosol Iodine mixed with water each day.You will feel the difference. Opelika

Anonymous

06/02/2015 - 1:11pm

I use it in the morning if u melt it and mix PBS (powder peanut butter) the choc. flavor. then put it in the freezer it tastes just like fudge sooo yummy.

Anonymous

03/30/2015 - 5:11pm

I have gained some weight since using coconut oil in my coffee, but I have been around children, grandchildren, spouse, and coworkers who have been sick all winter. I have not been sick, have had lots of energy, regular bowels, and very soft skin. I have however just joined a gym, and I know I need to exercise to lose desired amount of weight, but I will swear by the coconut oil for internal and external use!

Anonymous

03/27/2015 - 5:09am

Why are all the commenters here Anonymous?

Anonymous

03/18/2015 - 1:44pm

Take ne or two table spoons of evco with an empty stomach it will raise ur metabolism which in turn burns ur fat especially patients with hypothyroidism it is a miraculous medicine that helps to cure low thyroid function nd improves energy promotes weight loss etch etc wart not everything is in this :) stay healthy

Anonymous

02/25/2015 - 10:26pm

The person wright about grammar, please go get a life I want to read about coconut oil.

Anonymous

01/25/2015 - 9:24pm

I have been adding 2 tbsp. virgin coconut on my oatmeal for years along with flax, almonds, walnuts,
pecans, sprouted pumpkin & sunflower seeds, chia, coconut flakes & chips, cinnamon, cocoa, yogurt, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. Working as a contractor, I love how this serves me for about five hours. I also use coconut oil on my skin instead of sunscreen and to prevent fungus on the feet after bathing. I too believe in oil pulling with coconut oil on occasion for health and teeth whitening. I could go on and on as coconut oil is awesome.

Anonymous

01/06/2015 - 11:41am

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