Can Coconut Oil Really Help You Lose Weight?

Have you heard about the Coconut Diet?

Coconut oil is one of the reasons people of the tropics who eat a traditional diet that includes coconut don’t suffer from obesity or other diseases that plague Westerners. The typical fats our forefathers and other traditional societies have eaten for generations were known to be healthy. Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids and now research shows that it can lead to greater metabolism, weight loss, and other health benefits.

The Coconut Diet: The Secret That’s Simple!

According to Cherie Calbom, author of The Coconut Diet, the key to weight loss and vibrant health is found in eating the right kinds of fats, avoiding refinedCook with Coconut Oil carbohydrates, and consuming a diet of whole foods.

The Coconut Diet is simple. The most important feature of this diet is that coconut oil and other coconut products are used as much as possible. You can add coconut products to your ordinary way of eating. Just replace all the refined vegetable oils you currently use in your food preparation with coconut oil. Eliminate all margarine, shortening, and other hydrogenated oils from your diet. Olive oil and butter are okay, but use coconut oil whenever possible.

Saturated Fat Causes Weight Loss?

For decades now we have been told to cut back on fat—especially saturated fat—in our diet if we want to lose weight. In the late 1980s, health groups and physicians campaigned against saturated fats including lard, butter, and tropical oils like coconut oil. They believed hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils were healthier alternatives.

Obesity rates have gone up with use of hydrogenated oilsThe results of all these recommendations, however, have not been very encouraging, to say the least. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 1991 no states had obesity prevalence rates at or above 20 percent. By 2003, however, 31 states had rates of 20–24 percent and 4 states had rates more than 25 percent. By the mid 1990s, the Harvard School of Public Health estimated 30,000 people die each year of coronary heart disease as a result of eating hydrogenated fats. And the obesity epidemic is only getting worse.

Now the latest research shows that when you incorporate coconut oil into your low carb diet, it can actually help you lose weight, boost energy, and alleviate symptoms of digestive disorders. Neil Bloomquist, president of Spectrum Naturals, Inc., says “It’s important to get rid of some of the myths about saturated fats…the new science is countering the old ways of thinking.”Coconut Oil contains MCFAs which provide energy

The Importance of Medium-Chain Fatty Acids

To understand how The Coconut Diet can help you lose weight, you need to understand what medium-chain fatty acids are. Approximately 50% of the fatty acids in coconut fat are lauric acid. Lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty acid (or MCFA).

Unlike other fatty acids, MCFAs are absorbed directly from the intestines and sent to the liver where they are mostly burned as fuel. Other dietary fats (saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated) require pancreatic enzymes to break them into smaller units so that they can be absorbed into the intestinal wall and packaged into lipoproteins. These lipoproteins get broken down and are picked up by the liver to be used to produce energy. Or, if needed, the lipoproteins are repackaged into other lipoproteins, sent back into the bloodstream, and distributed throughout the body.

In contrast, MCFAs are not packaged into lipoproteins, but instead go directly to the liver, where they are converted into energy. Usually, they are not stored to any significant degree as body fat. In other words, MCFAs produce energy while other dietary fats (Long-Chain Fatty Acids, or LCTs) produce body fats. Because the LCT molecule is so large, the body cannot process it very efficiently; it prefers to simply store it in fat cells.

The more coconut oil in your diet the better The Coconut Diet and Improved Energy

Since your body uses MCFAs as an immediate source of fuel, they produce energy, not body fat. Their ability to produce energy is so effective,” says Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, that after eating a meal containing MCFAs, “your metabolism is shifted into a higher gear and you feel a surge of energy.”

Many athletes are using MCFAs to not only help them manage weight but to enhance exercise performance. For this reason, coconut oil or MCFAs (also known as Medium-Chain Triglycerides) are now being added to numerous sports drinks and energy bars.

As your energy levels rise, you use calories up at an accelerated rate. This reduces the amount of calories remaining in your body which could be converted into fat. When you add coconut oil into your diet, you burn off more calories because your metabolism increases.

“If you want to lose weight, generally the more coconut oil you can add into your diet the better,” says Fife. The weight loss advantages don't stop there. Studies have shown that oils containing MCFAs are more satisfying than other fats. “When they are added to foods,” says Fife, “people eat less and feel fuller longer so they don't eat as much at the next meal.”

How Much Coconut Oil Do You Use?

Look for unrefined coconut oil, like Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. Stay away from all hydrogenated oils, whether it is coconut oil or vegetable oils. Hydrogenated oils are oils with trans fatty acids, which have been altered from their original chemical composition. These hydrogenated oils have been shown to raise serum cholesterol levels which in turn can lead to heart disease.

A good dosage of coconut oil is 3 to 4 tablespoons a day. This provides enough lauric acid to promote weight loss, and offer other health benefits like supporting the immune system and easing digestion.

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