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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

Some years back, I ate 1 1/2 Tablespoons of coconut oil, fixed a healthy meal and ate whatever I wanted to eat in between meals every three hours. I was also active but did not work out. At the end of two weeks I had lost 15 pounds and felt so full of energy the entire time. It was great. The oil was hard to take though because I had trouble (gagging) swallowing "oil". I have recently purchased the oil capsules in an effort to loss weight without the hassle.

Anonymous

12/14/2012 - 10:05pm

I've been using coconut oil for only a couple weeks. It's great to mix in the morning coffee. For those who aren't sure how to get it into your diet I reccomend this! Take about a half to a full tablespoon of coconut oil and put it in with your coffee and sugar(sweetener) then blend it! I use a magic bullet and add some almond milk to give a little creamier feel. When done it gets a nice froth and tastes amazing!

Anonymous

12/04/2012 - 6:01pm

3lbs in 4 days? How much are you "taking"? Anonymous too.

Anonymous

12/03/2012 - 2:28pm

OK, I bought the extra virgin coconut oil, I read these comments. Some one please tell me how to eat this jar of stuff looks like crisco oil to me. do you scoop it and eat it or do you melt it.

Anonymous

11/19/2012 - 9:30pm

I started using coconut oil 2 months ago. Early menopause, no hormone replacement,has left my skin looking so much older. I am 55. I have had comments on my face, asking what I am doing as my skin looking so much more healthy. Brown markings are going as well as the wrinkles. A store in our town makes face creams, body moisurizer etc. which I am also using as well as cooking with the oil.

My tissue paper arms are feeling and looking so much healthier. I also have not lost any weight which I was hoping would happen, but have so much more energy and feel so well, so can cope with that.

I had whooping cough last year and was still coughing when I started with the oil(14 months later). The cough is gone (could be a coincidence). I look after children who all have had coughs and colds and so far have been cold free.

I really feel that I am at a good place mentally and physically at the moment and am not ready to stop taking it to test the theory

Anonymous

10/16/2012 - 5:04pm

Out of curiosity and being a huge milk lover, I've converted to coconut milk (boxed NOT canned) and was wondering if too much of it can cause UNwanted weight gain?????? Due to my love of the wrong foods I am already constantly trying to lose weight, I've heard a lot of good things about coconut water, does anyone knows if my new passion will do me more good than bad in the weight dept????

Anonymous

09/23/2012 - 5:59pm

After reading all of the comments, I appreciate those that understood about fats. Thank you. The comment before mine.. You do know that coconut milk is not the same as coconut oil, right? I am not overweight. I make sure I get good fats in my diet including EVCO Extra virgin coconut oil. I just found a really yummy recipe using coconut oil, raw honey and organic cocoa. I melt them together and drop some into tiny muffin cups, place into freezer.. yummy treats! I also add a touch of vanilla and teeny pinch of sea salt. Great pick me up... and the cocoa is loaded with antioxidants!

Anonymous

09/18/2012 - 7:54pm

The writer of this Article really needed to do a little more research
before putting this out for people to read. He is wrong on so many accounts. Maybe the
writer of this article and the people who disagree should go to the pacific Islands
and see for themselves the good it has done for the people there. The proof is in the pudding.
Coconut oil is Gods miracle, just like cannabis is.. Think people!

Anonymous

09/15/2012 - 11:06pm

In regards to the person who says they drank coconut milk and gained weight?
First of all ..it is the good quality extra virgin coconut oil...that is so very good for u and will help u lose weight if u use it properly. Not sure what was in your coconut milk? maybe other ingredients? besides coconut milk is not quite the same thing.
It is utilized by your liver burned as energy..not stored as fat.
and yes there are good fats and bad fats.....the fat from olives is a "good fat" the fat from margarine is a bad fat.....
whole foods are healthy for u "fake foods" foods made with hydrogenated oils are horrible and are what cause people to have all kinds of health problems!
good quality coconut oil can replace all other cooking oils including the spread u put on your bread or toast. (marg or butter)
coconut oil and goat's milk are the only two foods that contain good amounts of lauric acid
which is what is found in mother's breast milk........it is what protects us and builds a strong immunity/

Anonymous

07/10/2012 - 11:06am

i eat the raw cocunut i want to see what happens

Anonymous

07/03/2012 - 11:26am

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