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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I started using organic coconut oil 1 yr ago and all I can say is that my psroaisis is gone my energy is up my weight is good and my hair and skin are much healthier and bowel movements are regular. In general organic coconut oil is better for me.At my last med check up my DR asked what I had changed in my diet, I told him I started to use coconut oil !! the one you told me not to use!! He said keep at it it's doing wonders for you. As far as canola oil no way its genetically modified by nature because of the rapeseeds that it is made of! RAPESEEDS FIRST USE IS THE MAKING OF MUSTARD GAS,rape seed oil is used in machinery, the making of canola Oil, and causes many life threatning problems, animals and insects wont go near it.


02/23/2012 - 5:05pm

I am originally from Sri Lanka. My parents used coconut oil during their entire whole life time - both lived, 90 years with no serious illnesses whatsoever. My mom used to make a traditonal sweet for the New Year, we were her great helpers, we scraped coconut, stir the during the process - which takes hours to properly cook, etc. She used more than 26 dried coconuts, brown rice flour, etc., with the other ingredients needed. At the end of the cooking, we used to collect the oil, very carefully, and my mom always used to keep them in clean glass bottles. That's the oil she used in the household, except using for hair. So, even though, we are somewhat foolish having avoided coconut oil and started using other oils - that our great-grand-parents, grand-parents, parents never would have heard of. Actually, coconut oil was the only oil was in use in the ancient times, in Sri Lanka, and people live healthy, long lives, without been to a doctor at all. So, it's better, if we start getting back to naturals, rather than be the supporters of modern businesses, sadly had become a huge problem. Thisha


02/23/2012 - 4:51pm

I first bought Coconut Oil from Whole Foods for my Diverticulitious....I love it!


02/22/2012 - 4:06am

It's annoying to see ignorant people posing as experts. Coconut oil has been the subject of multiple studies, and it's looking like the best of our options, certainly for cooking.

This writer should do her homework and quit writing until she has enough decent research under her belt to get things right.


02/21/2012 - 9:47pm

Never have used it, have heard lots of good things, will have to try it.


02/21/2012 - 7:12pm

I recently went on a high fat low carb diet. I eliminated sugar and all grains ( even whole grains ). I started to eat grass fed beef, butter (for the first time in 30 years ), lots of nuts, raw cheese and turkey bacon. My lipid panel improved by 30 %. I got this diet from a registered dietician . This is what the latest science is showing. Fat doesn`t make you fat. Sugar and grains make you fat. Saturated fat is healthy if you eat the right saturated fats such as raw dairy anf grass fed beef. Rob


02/21/2012 - 3:55pm

I used Organic Extra-Vrigin Coconut Oil as part of a small wright loss routine for 15 days and it helped me lose 15 pounds. I documented it in a notebook and averaged the weight loss at the 15th day. [For the record, it wasn't a consistent loss of 1 pound a day, it averaged out to 15 pounds in 15 days.] :)


-As soon as I got up I drank a tall glass of water

-I ate a big breakfast within 45 minutes of waking up

-I drank water all throughout the day

-I ate [at] three square meals a day

-I also drank green tea, Yerba mate tea and oolong tea

-I took 1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 Teaspoon of the above mentioned Coconut Oil before every meal [My body felt like a furnace after just a few days, it sped up my metabolism quite quickly.]

-And Finally, I cheated whenever I wanted [so....obviously I wasn't cheating all the time, but when I did, the point was to not stress over it because extreme stress can raise cortisol levels which helps keep the fat on...and trust me, if you've had wright loss problems your whole life like I have you know you don't just feel a "little" guilty when you cave in, it really does a job on, I CHEAT GUILT FREE!]

I was amazed to see that this actually worked! Keeping tab on the wight loss and writing everything down really helped me to grasp that this was possible :) By the way, this diet was a modified version of Kevin Trudeau's "Lose 30 Pounds in 30 Days." I am NOT on his payroll, and I am NOT him and say what you want about the man, this works!

I'll say it again, I really hope this helps someone out there! Don't give up, lasting change is not only possible, it's yours now! Do it and be amazed!!!

-David M.


02/21/2012 - 1:27am

In the 90 s I gave up fat , guess what I got fat... I am new to the coconut oil, but so far it has cured my constipation. I have more energy. I am so tired on the American processed crappy low fat diet loaded with chemicals inspired by greedy food producers!


01/09/2012 - 10:04am

It is virtually impossible to get a straight answer, regarding the health benefits of coconut oil or anything else on the interenet for that matter. Coconut oil is fatty, but most say it is good fat and eliminates through the liver and does not cause lipid levels to go up, and then there is the other side where others say a fat is a fat, so do not eat it, it will raise lipid levels. So, which one is it? i recently started eating two teaspoons a day, i will stop now before i put my health at risk, though i will continue to use it on my hair and my skin as i am already seeing tremendous results and i cannot actually fin cause for concern when applying to my hair and skin. For those of you eating it, please make sure you do an extensive research or ask a doctor or a nutritionist before you take a chance of clogging your arteries.


01/06/2012 - 2:53pm

I feel cocunit oil really helps to reduce weight id taken in the morning one table spoon empty stomach


12/28/2011 - 6:32am

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