You’re about to discover why coconut oil is actually a ‘healthy’ fat your body needs for optimal health and energy.
It is also a different type of fat to that of your regular cooking oil which actually works to burn calories rather than store food as fat deposits.
Let me explain the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ of the magic behind coconut oil and weight loss..
First of all, please don’t be confused about weight loss and diets. I am totally against anyone starting a fad diet to lose weight.
Fad diets work purely for the short-term and virtually everyone who goes on a diet regains their original weight and more, once they come off them.
Simply because once they lose the weight they wanted to through dieting, they go back to the way they used to eat that made them fat in the first place!
Losing weight through a change in lifestyle like in KETO diet, is what will ultimately create a healthier, happier and slimmer person.
This article will explain quite clearly why traditional methods of losing weight through food choices (in particular the fats we eat), fail more often than they succeed, and why eating coconut oil might just be the answer.
Eat Less Fat and You Lose More Weight, Right?
Wrong! Established teachings and methods of losing weight, taught and preached by so many ‘health’ gurus, books and mainstream magazines, tell us that in order to lose weight we must eat less fat.
They say that fat is bad for you and the reason why you gain weight. Unfortunately this could be the most fundamental reason why it is so difficult for most people to reduce their weight.
We need fat! Our bodies need a certain amount of fat in order for us to have energy and stay healthy.
Fat is used to absorb and transport essential fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients throughout our body. We also need fat to produce hormones and cellular membranes.
So if we need fat in our body, but it contains calories that causes us to gain weight, what is the solution?
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that the answer may lie with coconut oil! And there are 3 compelling reasons why this is true…
Not All Fats are Created Equal
Now here’s the science bit, so pay attention! You might be surprised to know that all fats contain the same amount of calories.
No matter if they are from plants such as corn or wheat, or from animal products such as cows. These traditional oils all contain long chain fatty acids (LCFA).
Coconut oil however is made up of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) which is actually less and smaller in size than other fats and subsequently contain fewer calories.
More importantly, the medium chain fatty acids are digested and used by the body differently than long chain fatty acids. Basically the fat from LCFA is broken down and stored directly into or fat cells.
When we exercise for example, the body immediately calls upon nutrients like protein and carbohydrates for immediate energy. It won’t touch these fat reserves unless our physical activity demands greater energy reserves, in which case fat is removed from these fat cells and burned for fuel.
As long as we eat just enough food to satisfy us the body will use the majority if it up converting it into energy.
Unfortunately, if we eat too much, especially too much LCFA and/or don’t exercise enough,the body will store the excess as fat deposits and we will gain weight as a consequence.
MCFA is Utilized Differently
Now here’s why coconut oil is so much better for us – The MCFA found in coconut oil is utilized differently by the body.
Instead of sending the excess food to be stored to our fat cells, the body sends it directly to the liver where it is immediately converted into energy – the same way a carbohydrate works.
So by eating coconut oil, the body immediately uses it to make energy rather than store it as body fat. Consequently, you can eat much more coconut oil than you can other oils before the excess is converted into fat.
There have been several studies confirming these findings using humans and animals to demonstrate how a reduction in body weight and fat deposits occurred when LCFA were replaced with MCFA.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition discovered that not only did patients lose weight when they included MCFA’s in their diet, but actually lost more weight than compared to a diet with olive oil.
These findings alone would be a good enough reason to replace traditional oils with coconut oils. But the magic doesn’t stop there!
Coconut Oil and Metabolism
Certain foods are better at increasing our body’s metabolism than others. Protein rich foods for example are effective in stimulating our metabolism.
Without going into too much detail, a higher or faster metabolism burns more fat, which helps in weight loss.
The MFCA contained in coconut oil is the most concentrated natural source available and makes is even more effective than protein.
As previously mentioned the MCFA are immediately burned as fuel, thus increasing the body’s metabolic activity.
Not only are medium-chain fatty acids burned for energy use, but they encourage the burning of LCFA as well.
Not only does regular vegetable oil promote weight gain, it also suppresses thyroid activity. The thyroid gland controls our metabolism and so by consuming LCFA we depress out thyroid activity and lower our metabolic rate.
Coconut oil however, has the opposite effect! It stimulates the thyroid and speeds up our metabolism.
Still need convincing?
Coconut Oil Suppresses Food Cravings
One of the biggest culprits for putting on weight is due to food cravings. We’ve all been in a situation where we feel hungry and our bodies start to crave unhealthy food.
Fast food, sweet snacks like chips and cookies and chocolate being the main demons. (well they were for me anyway!)
Unfortunately, low-fat diets can exasperate the problem as you are merely depriving the body of the fats it needs.
The solution is to consume healthy fats as part of a healthy daily diet including coconut oil, flaxseed oil and fish oils. These fats will help you to feel fuller for longer and keep those hunger pangs at bay.
What’s the Difference Between Coconut Oil, Coconut Milk, and Coconut Water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid found in young, maturing coconuts. This water is sweet and can be drunk straight from the nut. It contains a lot of important nutrients and antioxidants especially potassium and magnesium, and is a stable source of drinking water in many parts of the world.
Coconut water is also fat-free and is very low in calories, about 50 calories for one cup. Most of the calories come from its natural sugars. It can be bought in cartons from health stores and online.
As the coconut ripens, the water gradually turns into the white, fleshy meat inside the coconut wall.
Coconut milk is produced by grinding up the coconut meat and pressing out the creamy liquid. When the coconut milk settles, the thicker, creamy milk rises to the surface and can be easily removed. This method produces two types of coconut milk – thick and thin.
Coconut milk contains a lot of fat and calories, approx 550 calories per cup, most of them from fat.
Coconut oil is made using various extraction methods which produce 2 types of coconut oil: Refined coconut oil and ‘virgin’ coconut oil.
What Is Virgin Coconut Oil?
Virgin coconut oil is slightly different to regular oil and an important consideration if you’re thinking of buying some.
This is the oil commonly bought in stores and is better for our health.
Virgin coconut oil is different to regular coconut oil due to the way it is processed. The oil is extracted from the milk of fresh coconuts without using heat, in order to preserve the health promoting nutrients and compounds. The meat from the fresh coconuts is removed mechanically or by natural means.
The precious nutrients that have so many health benefits are retained because no further chemical refining, bleaching or deodorizing is necessary. It can be consumed straight from source without any artificial processing.
Look for the Organic Label
The best quality virgin coconut oil should be virtually colorless, residue free with a coconut taste and scent. It has a distinct, pleasant taste and smell of fresh coconuts, whereas ordinary refined or semi-refined coconut oil is largely tasteless.
The only way to know for sure you’re buying the best virgin coconut oil is to look for the organic label. If it is labeled ‘certified organic’, it means the whole process from growth to production, is done organically.
If you want to use coconut oil for the hair or skin, then the less expensive coconut oil products are fine to use.
There are several manufacturers and retail outlets selling coconut oil products. As with any type of health food, it is worth doing a little research on the company before paying for an expensive product. Find out what country it sources its coconut from and what processing methods are used in its production.
Don’t be misled into thinking there is an even better coconut oil available as ‘extra’ virgin coconut oil. This is just a marketing ploy that was originally used in the olive oil industry. Virgin coconut oil is as good as it can get and there is no other standard to produce a better result.
What Is Organic Coconut Oil?
Organic coconut oil means it is oil produced from coconut trees that are grown and harvested without the use of pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or hexane. Most of the top brands of virgin coconut oil are organically produced.
How Much Coconut Oil Should I Take Daily To Receive Its Health Benefits?
Coconut oil benefits come mainly from the medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), otherwise known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs).
It is recommended to take between 1 and 3 tablespoons a day, to enjoy the health benefits from the oil, but actually any amount is better than none at all.
Incidentally, 3 tablespoons of coconut oil is roughly the same amount of MCFA’s a nursing child would drink each day from mother’s milk.
What Are the Side Effects of Coconut Oil?
Unless you are allergic to coconuts, then you are unlikely to experience any side effects from consuming coconut oil.
If anything you may experience some diarrhea when you first start consuming it. I recommend you start off by taking just 1 tablespoon per day and build up to 3 or 4. Spreading it throughout the day will also help.
If your skin is prone to rashes or is very sensitive, you might try applying some oil to a small area on your skin just to check you don’t react to it.
Other than these common sense approaches, you should not have any concerns with adding coconut oil to your diet.
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Pregnant Women?
It is a natural food source that contains lauric acid – which is also present in breast milk. If you have already been drinking coconut oil before becoming pregnant, and have had no adverse reactions to it, then there’s no reason not to continue.
However, a lot of Western diets are now low-fat, and so it’s probably not a good idea to start consuming coconut oil while pregnant if your body is not used to it.
Is Coconut Oil Safe for Young Children and Toddlers?
Yes, it is perfectly safe to give to young children and toddlers. The only reaction they may have to too much oil, is diarrhea.
The best thing to do is slowly add coconut oil to their diets, starting off with just a small teaspoon a day. After a month or 2 you can build up to a tablespoon a day and should not expect any problems.
Kids actually love the taste of coconut oil and it’s so easy to add to food. My kids just lick it straight off the spoon!
How Long Does Coconut Oil Last?
This oil has the longest shelf life of any plant-based oils. Coconut oil products will normally carry a ‘use by’ date of around 2 years.
However, you will probably still be able to use it much longer than this. If the oil doesn’t smell or taste rancid then you’re safe to eat it.
What Is The Best Way to Store Coconut Oil?
The good thing about coconut oil is its natural resistance to heat. You don’t need to store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
It has a melting point of around 76 degrees F. so in warmer climates it will often be stored in cupboards in liquid form. In cooler climates or if stored in the refrigerator, coconut oil will turn to a solid.
The properties and compounds of the oil remain exactly the same whether as a solid or liquid.
I like to keep a jar semi-cold, (in the cupboard) so that it turns into a buttery type of thickness. This makes it easy to scoop out and use how you like. I like it this way to spread on toast – Delicious!
Is Coconut Oil Safe to Use in Cooking?
Yes it is, and I highly recommend it. Coconut oil will quickly turn to liquid when used to cook with.
However the healthy properties of the oil, (primarily the medium chain fatty acids) are not destroyed when heated to very high temperatures.
How Can I add Coconut Oil to My Daily Diet?
Coconut oil is such a versatile oil. You can add it to your diet in a whole manner of ways including:
Replace your regular (unhealthy) cooking oil with coconut oil as a 1 for 1 replacement.
Substitute butter or margarine with it for spreading on bread or toast – or for baking.
Add it to smoothies. Many sports drinks already incorporate coconut oil into their products to give an extra energy boost.
Use coconut oil as a natural sweetener to hot drinks or to add to cereals.
Eat it as is! Hardened coconut oil tastes like candy or white chocolate. Yummy!
Can You Get the Same Benefits by Eating Fresh (or Dried) Coconut?
Whole coconut contains little oil and you would not get the same medium chain fatty acid benefits from the meat of coconut.
Fresh coconut does provide plenty of nutrients though, especially minerals such as manganese, copper, selenium and iron. It also has a good protein value, all of which is not present in coconut oil.
The problem is, to enjoy these health promoting nutrients, you need to eat the coconut meat fresh, and unless you are in a tropical country, coconuts will certainly not be fresh by the time they reach stores and markets around the world.
Those outside the tropics – dried coconut is probably the best option. It is still a healthy option, containing all the valuable nutrients. Dried coconut can be bought as shredded coconut, coconut flakes, coconut cream concentrate or coconut flour.
Just be careful where you purchase it and investigate thoroughly to be sure it was processed according to industry standards to avoid potential contamination.
I’ve no doubt that coconut oil benefits and the effect it has on our bodies will continue to gain greater exposure.
There are some compelling reasons why coconut oil can help prevent weight gain and even can help you lose excess weight more efficiently.
When combined with a high-fibre diet, using coconut oil and coconut products can have a remarkable effect on your weight and your health.