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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.

Download a FREE 5-Day 1,500-Calorie Meal Plan to Lose Weight!

COMMENTS POSTEDsort icon

I was experiencing a weight loss plateau for a while even though I was eating healthy, exercising and maintaining a daily calorie defect of at least 1000. I decided to give coconut oil a shot and within the first 48 hours I lost a quarter pound! I carry very little water weight because I follow a low sodium, healthy diet that includes foods that combat bloating so I am pretty sure it was real fat I was losing. To confirm this I used my body fat meter and it confirmed that I had indeed lost fat. It has been 10 days now that I have been putting coconut oil in my oatmeal and 2 since I decided to consume another table spoon in the evening when I was done eating for the day and I have lost a total of 2.6 pounds. This may not seem like much to some but losing that much after weeks of being on a plateau is awesome! Hopefully, if this keeps up, I will be at my weight loss goal of 140 lbs (I currently weigh 153.2 after coconut oil) within the next 2 months! :) I highly recommend adding it to a healthy diet keeping in mind the additional calories though!

Anonymous

05/27/2014 - 10:00am

What a pity coconut oil does not also increase IQ, spelling and grammar skills. It does seem: spelling correctly, constructing and finishing a word or sentence, is a skill long lost, now unachievable. Well away you go kiddies. Take your poor spelling and grammar, your lol's and u's and roflcopta's with you ...groan.

Anonymous

05/23/2014 - 12:50pm

I'm 41 and my body is changing so much lately - regular gym sessions are a must, and changing my diet is too - coming from a Mexican Italian family its not easy to give up all of that food - but buying a size 14 pants is not ok....so I Just started taking Coconut Oil - on a trial bases - at first taste, it's like a spoonful of butter - and my gag reflex kicked into high gear - but I'm going to stick with it because I know that will pass - the actual taste is great though - so...this, along with my new menu, and workouts... I cant wait to see the results

Anonymous

05/05/2014 - 11:07am

Do we have a face book page for this please wood be interesting to read more.ON COCOANUT OIL. Thank you

Anonymous

05/04/2014 - 12:01pm

Nutritional fads are dangerous. The artery clogging saturated fat from coconut oil makes this a stupid way to diet.

Anonymous

05/02/2014 - 1:34am

Cococnut and Peanut butter Bar
1 cup coconut oil 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1 cup peanut butter 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey mix together and freeze for a great chocolate snack you can also add coconut and chai seeds

Anonymous

04/26/2014 - 7:14am

One have to consume coconut oil with a low carb / sugar diet in order for one to lose weight. The same goes for consuming others saturated fat. It even show that if others saturated fat is consumed with a low carb / sugar diet, the cholesterol level will not be raised. As much is research was carried out by both Cambridge and Harvard, saturated fat is not the cause of heart disease. Obesity did not occur until the world was educated through the food pyramid that fat is the last group of food to be consumed and carbs are the first. Coconut oil can be consumed through a high protein low carb / sugar diet of which most carbs come from non starchy vegetables. High protein could also mean eggs which are more affordable. Then again everyone respond differently to food. Try out coconut oil with a high protein low carb / sugar diet and one will see and feel the differences in one week or two. Also one has to watch out for sodium which cause water retention. Expel excess water using parsley boiled in water. Has been using coconut oil for my weight loss journey and to date has lost 61 pounds in 6 months. My cholesterol level actually dip and close to normal. Also, no irregular heart beat for last 3 months. However, I am exceedingly obese and still have another 110 pounds to to go. I topped 330 pounds. For me, under the right condition of high protein low carb / sugar / low sodium, it is actually eat fat to lose fat. I consume 2 - 3 tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil a day, all in the morning in an empty stomach straight and with my coffee (no sugar). My breakfast! By 2 PM, I will have my lunch of 400 calories of protein with loads of vegetables and by 6 PM, dinner will be of 300 calories also of meat and loads of vegetables. Total calories a day is 1100. My weight loss has been consistent averaging 10 pounds a month reflecting no loss in metabolism. Maybe the coconut oil has something to do with it. While coconut oil is no magic bullet, for me at least it aid my weight loss. As I say, try it out for one week or two to see if it work for you. What has one got to lose, rather than just procrastinating and questioning. Walk the research!

Anonymous

04/22/2014 - 11:38am

last thusrday 17/4/2014, i bought 2 jars of virgin coconut oil in my local organic store.had spoonful at 6pm after my very late lunch. i felt my stomach got flatten a little after a couple of hours seems like i didnt it for 2meals.have this tshirt which was im not using yrs ago because of my belt bag-like belly and it looks gross :) today is 19 april im wearing that shirt and its perfectly fit for me. i am not feeling hungry after my last meal 6hrs ago and im not in the mood to eat for my dinner. i think this is because of VCO. i have taken 2-3 spoons everyday before meal.

Anonymous

04/19/2014 - 11:02am

I've been using Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for nine weeks. I cook with it, eat it by the spoonful, oil my hair and skin, and have never felt better. My energy levels and moods have improved and I've lost 10.5 lbs. there are some great CO recipes and I love the taste for both cooking, baking or just eating out of the jar. The secret is to get rid of all the bad fats and stick to saturated fat. Get rid of the sugar, processed foods and refined carbs and soy laden products. There is plenty of medical research proving the overall benefits of VCO, and the health benefits of the MTC's that we have been brainwashes into thinking are bad for us by the Soy Bean industry and manufacturers of highly processes, packaged foods. It's all about profits - not health as far as they are concerned. Eat lots of fruits, veggies, protein and good high fibre carbs in moderation. Get out and go for a walk, or swim or do whatever exercise you enjoy. Get back to the basics and stop the low-fat, no-fat lie we've all been fed since the '80's. If that really worked, why is obesity and heart desease still rising?

Anonymous

04/10/2014 - 8:34am

I bought some coconut oil because I wanted to try oil pulling. I'm having trouble with the texture and I'm slowly working on that. In the meantime I wanted to try CO in cooking. It's fantastic for frying, baking, and making healthier popcorn (the old fashioned way) as a snack. For the last few mornings I've been noticing a flatter stomach and wondered if CO had anything to do with it. I was consuming CO for the health benefits and had no idea that it assisted in weight loss/fat loss until I looked it up on-line. So, in my opinion, it's working. I'm excited to see where this journey takes me!

Anonymous

04/06/2014 - 8:33am

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