Coconut oil is the world’s most weight loss friendly fat.It contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful effects on metabolism.
Several studies show that just by adding coconut oil to your diet, you can lose fat, especially the "dangerous” fat in the abdominal cavity.
Let me explain how that works…
Coconut Oil is High in Medium Chain Triglycerides, Fatty Acids That Boost Metabolism
Coconut oil is vastly different from most other fats in the diet.Whereas most foods contain predominantly long-chain fatty acids, coconut oil consists almost entirely of Medium Chain Fatty Acids.
The thing with these medium chain fatty acids, is that they are metabolized differently than the longer chain fats.They are sent straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are either used for energy right away or turned into ketone bodies.
These fats are often used by epileptic patients on a ketogenic diet, in order to increase ketone levels while allowing for a bit more carbs in the diet.
There is also some evidence from animal studies that medium chain fats are stored less efficiently than other fats.In one study, rats were overfed with either long chain or medium chain fats. The rats fed the medium chain fats gained 20% less weight and 23% less body fat.
Bottom Line: Coconut oil is high in Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are fatty acids that are metabolized differently than most other fats, leading to beneficial effects on metabolism.
How Coconut Oil Can Boost Metabolism, Making You Burn More Calories at Rest
A calorie is not a calorie.Different foods and macronutrients go through different metabolic pathways.The different types of foods we eat can have a huge effect on our hormones and metabolic health.Some metabolic pathways are more efficient than others and some foods require more energy to digest and metabolize.One important property of coconut oil is that it is "thermogenic” – eating it tends to increase energy expenditure (fat burning) compared to the same amount of calories from other fats.
In one study, 15-30 grams (1 to 2 tablespoons) of medium chain fats per day increased energy expenditure by 5%, totaling about 120 calories per day.
Several other studies confirm these findings. When humans replace the fats they are eating with MCT fats, they burn more calories.Therefore, a calorie from coconut oil is NOT the same as a calorie from olive oil or butter (although these fats are perfectly healthy too).
Bottom Line: Many studies show that medium chain triglycerides can boost metabolism, in one study increasing energy expenditure by 120 calories per day.
Coconut Oil Can Reduce Appetite, Making You Eat Less Without Trying
"Weight loss is all about calories in, calories out.”
Even though I think this is a drastic oversimplification, it is mostly true.If your body expends more energy (calories) than it takes in, then you will lose fat.But even though it is true that we need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight, it doesn’t mean that calories are something that we need to count or be consciously aware of.
Humans are very capable of remaining lean and healthy in their natural environment. The obesity epidemic didn’t start until 1980 and we didn’t even know what a calorie was back in the day.
Anything that reduces our appetite can make us take in fewer calories without having to think about it. It appears that coconut oil has this effect.
Many studies on medium chain fatty acids show that, compared to the same amount of calories from other fats, they increase feelings of fullness and lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.
This may be related to the way these fats are metabolized. It is well known that ketone bodies (which the liver produces when you eat coconut oil) can have a powerful appetite reducing effect.
Whatever the mechanism is, it works. In one study of 6 healthy men, eating a high amount of MCTs caused them to automatically eat 256 fewer calories per day.
In another study of 14 healthy men, those who ate MCTs at breakfast ate significantly fewer calories at lunch.So… coconut oil boosts fat burning (increases "calories out”) and it also reduces the appetite (reduces "calories in”).
Bottom Line: Many studies show that people who add Medium Chain Fatty Acids to their diet have reduced appetite and start eating fewer calories automatically.