Q. Can Coconut Oil Help You Lose Weight?

By Joyce Hendley, M.S., 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 use coconut oil for cooking all the time! I'm maintaining about 10% body fat which is awesome. Coconut oil really helps with metabolism. Read some studies at for yourself.


07/20/2016 - 12:51am

…and also that it’s an April 1st post


06/20/2016 - 6:44pm

just started....I'll let you know!


10/15/2015 - 12:00am

"...few nutrition experts recommend it, since coconut oil is loaded with saturated fat..."

Outdated information much? lol


09/25/2015 - 9:41am

I eat 2 tbl. Spoons a day, I feel much thinner, I have only lost 5 lbs, in 2 months, but my skin is less dry, I also use it my hair.... Love it!!!


09/24/2015 - 1:04pm

I have been drinking bulletproof coffees for about two months almost every morning. I feel like the energy boost from the caffeine lasts a little longer and the coffee tastes richer. Other than that I don't see any changes in skin, weight, outlook, etc. I eat a pretty healthy diet and exercise almost every day. I'm thinking of cutting back on the coconut oil now as I just see it, and the butter, as added calories with not much additional benefit. Just my personal experience. Don't hate.


08/29/2015 - 4:05pm

Has anyone ever used Coconut Oil for Psoriasis?


07/27/2015 - 9:07am

You’re welcome


07/09/2015 - 12:40pm

I've been using 1 tsp. coconut oil mixed in a protein shake first thing in the morning. At night time I take 4 coconut oil pills. This has been about 2 weeks now. The energy I have right now is amazing and losing weight, I have been maintaining 163 for a month after losing 40 lbs. I began to use coconut oil to see if it helps. I am on my way to weigh in now... and in the past 2 weeks I have a pound...but i truly feel great and have a lot of energy. With some things it takes more time to for the product to really help. My husband took coconut oil pills every night before he went to sleep for the longest time.. months and months.. He swore he lost weight doing so. I just don't know how much he lost but it did seem to appear to he was losing weight at that time. Proper eating and weight lifting is the best way to lose weight and get healthy. For the first time ever in my life I am lifting weight and losing weight. After 5 months my muscles are cutting in the arms, back and legs.. progress in the stomach. I push so hard my personal trainer has now accepted me as a friend and now i am in training for a body competition show next year. This is good.


06/17/2015 - 6:52am

For good metabolism eat some coconut oil and some actual coconut and take a drop or two of Iosol Iodine mixed with water each day.You will feel the difference. Opelika


06/02/2015 - 1:11pm

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