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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Your information is very out of date. Eating fat allows your body to burn fat. There's a ton of well evidenced research and case studies out there- keep reading further.


11/19/2013 - 9:59am

Coconut oil in my coffe every day combined with low carbs has helped me to lose 2 lbs a week and decreased my dose of synthroid. It literally increases your metabolism so be careful if on medication for hypothyroidism. Also the fat keeps me feeling satisfied and I experience much less hunger than I did when on a high carb diet. Wooohoooo!


11/09/2013 - 10:15am

I have just started using it i hope it works. My do feel more energuzed


10/31/2013 - 3:11pm

l use coconut oil for everything so good try it.


10/29/2013 - 10:45pm

I'm giving it a try, and I'll report back.


10/24/2013 - 11:11pm

I started taking coconut oil about 3 months ago a tablespoon in my coffee twice a day. Haven't changed anything else in my diet. I do have more energy and have increased my exercise ( I bike about 8 miles 4x a week and walk a few miles a week - that's all!) I have lost 20 lbs in 3 months.


10/24/2013 - 4:12pm

Some of you who claim they lost weight on account of coconut oil, also have been dieting at the same time, adding it to smoothies et... so how can you justify the weight loss saying it was from coconut oil??


10/18/2013 - 11:51pm

I was doing pretty good " weight loss-wise " with coconut oil, until I ran out. I replaced it with butter for about a week or so. Yikes! the pounds started amassing like an army preparing for battle. Never again. I'm sticking with coconut oil.


10/14/2013 - 1:07pm

My coconut oil supplements have only 1g of fat. Where do you get 12g?


10/04/2013 - 2:19pm

My hdl has been 38 for years of taking fish oil. I tried coconut oil for one month, it is now 48


10/03/2013 - 10:39pm

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