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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We cut most gluten and refined sugar out, changed to real whole milk w/out hormones or antibiotics, switched to real dairy cream for coffee, try to stick to whole foods only and started exclusively using coconut oil aprox. a year ago my wife even makes chocolate candy using cacoa n coconut oil n nuts n berries. I've lost 60 pounds + my wife 40+ bp is excellent now, my joints feel so much better my mind is sharper etc etc etc. Stop listening to the people tryin to sell ya some fake substitute plastic bullshit!!! Eat real food with real fat with real naturally occuring sugars with real cholesterol use coconut oil and the pounds will just melt away they have for us!!!!!


02/23/2014 - 1:50pm

I've never bought coconut oil. Does it come from health shops.


02/17/2014 - 4:59am

I melt my coconut oil and put it in my oatmeal. On the first day alone, I already could tell it was working. It helped make me regular (like Activa claims).


02/13/2014 - 12:42pm

I put a few melted teaspoons of coconut oil in a bowl and add a dozen or so frozen blueberries and some coconut flakes. Stir to coat and set the oil.. Yummo !!!


01/27/2014 - 11:48pm

If You want to add it to your coffee you maybe want to put it all together in the blender, it comes out creamy more cappuccino like ( instead of oily) so if you add some vanilla or cinnamon ( or both) you'll be surprised!! Is delicious :-)


01/27/2014 - 10:57am

how much weight can you lose in a week taking coconut oil. is it best to drink pure coconut oil with warm water or eat coconut.


01/14/2014 - 7:57am

I use coconut oil on butternut squash...add some cinnamon!!! yum!


01/13/2014 - 5:11pm

which brand of coconut oil u all buy plz


01/12/2014 - 7:57pm

I just started using cocunut oil 2 weeks ago. I mainly blend it in my morning coffee, it is delicious. It must be blended not just added to your cup. I don't know if I have lost weight. I feel like possibly a few pounds. What I do know is it has reduced my appetite and cravings. I will continue using it and see how my weight is in a couple months.


01/12/2014 - 12:02am

before I bought my organic virgin co, I did a ton of research. I decided to buy two jars. I read that adding to your coffee was delicious, but let me say, I was not. it felt like I was drinking oil. My lips was covered in oil and the coffee felt really oily. I did not enjoy the flavor like some people said. I stop using it for a while. I found a new method to eat the coconut oil without having it to be so bad. I have a juicer so I take Carrots, apples, pineapples etc and juice them. after I have my fresh juice, I blend the melted coconut oil (must be melted or else you'll have big chuncks of white stuff in your drink) with my fresh juice. I must say, it tastes way better and yummy!! I have not lost weight because I do not do it often or everyday.


01/09/2014 - 9:21pm

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