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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 POSTEDsort icon

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

has it got a lot of calories ???? pam

Anonymous

01/05/2015 - 3:47pm

I love hearing about suggestions for coconut oil. If I wanted to learn about grammar, I would go on a grammar site. People complaining about grammar and punctuation on a coconut oil site should do that, too
.

Anonymous

12/28/2014 - 8:50pm

Sod the spelling
It's about the oil

Anonymous

12/28/2014 - 7:53am

I can't believe some people are talking about spelling and grammar. This is about coconut oil for gods sake! Who cares where the stupid comma goes.

Anonymous

10/31/2014 - 12:04am

It really helps with my constipation! 1 Tablespoon in my tea each morning. It works for me.

Anonymous

10/21/2014 - 12:27pm

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