Coconut oil has been hugely popular in recent years. It is used in anything from recipes to beauty products. Its popularity is due to the many reported health benefits of coconut oil.
The oil is an extract from the meat of the coconut. One of its reported benefits is in weight management. Coconut oil for weight loss is believed to be effective because it is a source of saturated fat and an appetite suppressor.
There are three main types of coconut oil. The first is partially hydrogenated coconut oil. Hydrogenation is a chemical process that turns liquid oil into solid fat. Partially hydrogenated coconut oil has fatty acids, which are believed to be less healthy than saturated fat because it increases bad cholesterol.
The second type of coconut oil is the refined coconut oil. It has been processed to remove the coconut taste. It comes from dried coconut meat called copra. The copra needs to be bleached and deodorized for it to be fit for consumption by humans.
The oil is subjected to high heat and then filtered to remove the impurities. The coconut oil is then chemically treated with sodium hydroxide to remove the free fatty acids so that it can stay fresh longer.
When people talk about taking coconut oil for its health benefits, they are usually referring to the last kind. It is the unrefined coconut oil. It is the oil that is obtained through low-heat extraction. It is not a neutral oil and still retains its coconut flavor.
The United States Department of Agriculture National Nutrient Database lists the content of coconut oil. It is purely fat but has a high number of medium-chain triglycerides or MCT.
Coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which is a lipid. It makes up about half the total fatty acids in coconut oil. It has antimicrobial properties that help the immune system fight off pathogens.
MCT is different from the long-chain triglycerides found in many animal fats. When it comes to coconut oil for weight loss, MCT is harder to be converted into stored fat and are burned off more easily.
How Does Coconut Oil Impact Your Weight Loss?
The main reason why people take coconut oil for weight loss is due to its MCT, which due to it being a fatty substance. It is believed to be a metabolism booster.
Contrary to popular belief, fat is not all bad. Some kinds of fat are good. It is necessary for the production of hormones as well as for the brain to function properly. However, the difference is in what kind of fat is consumed.
Long chain fatty acids take a long time to metabolize, which causes them to be absorbed in fat tissue. On the other hand, MCT goes straight from the digestive tract into the liver. The quick process means fast metabolism.
Also, the coconut oil can boost a lethargic metabolism because it is a saturated fat. Its MCT affects metabolism by encouraging the fat cells to burn fat off. The practical result of this is that people tend to burn off calories, even when in a state of rest.
Another way that coconut oil can be effective in weight loss is by helping manage the calorie intake.
The most basic formula for weight loss is that if you burn off more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. But, it can be very difficult to count calories. After all, people eat for a variety of reasons. They eat when they are hungry. They eat when they are emotional. They eat when they find something appetizing.
Coconut oil is thought to control the urge to eat by suppressing appetites. Eating less food means lower calories.
The MCT of coconut oil is believed to increase the feeling of being full. One possible reason for this phenomenon is the way it is metabolized. When coconut oil is consumed, the body produces a substance called ketone. Ketone is known to be an appetite suppressant.
Ketones are thought to affect the appetite through the cholecystokinin, a hormone that makes a person feel full. This hormone is released after eating. However, less of the cholecystokinin is released when the body loses weight.
The irony is that as you get thinner, you feel less full with the same amount of food. Ketones can offset this behavior and returns the levels of the cholecystokinin hormones to normal levels.
The unique flavor of the coconut oil can lead to a greater feeling of satisfaction, so the desire to eat more is lessened.
Coconut oil is also high in calories. One tablespoon roughly has 120 calories and 23 grams of saturated fat. Some diets, such as Keto and Intermittent Fasting, recommend consuming coconut oil in place of food to satiate hunger. The idea behind it is that it will help you feel full longer and reduce calorie intake in the long run.
Keeping your blood sugar stable is important when it comes to losing weight. Blood sugar that goes up and down erratically tends to cause sugar cravings. It also affects the mood, making people feel tired or moody and thus, increasing the chances of emotional eating.
Coconut oil can help improve glucose intolerance, or the ability of the body to transform sugar into energy with fewer side effects, because of the lauric acid content of coconut oil.
Coconut oil for weight loss can work by helping stabilize the blood sugar at healthy levels. The MCT of coconut oils is again considered the primary cause of this occurrence.
The quick-metabolism property of the MCT does not trigger high levels of insulin the way other sugar products tend to do.
Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that oversees letting the glucose, or sugar, into the cells to be used for energy. Glucose cannot enter the cells by itself, so the insulin attaches to it and allows it to be absorbed.
Insulin resistance occurs when the body has the insulin it needs but cannot use it properly. This leads to high blood sugar because instead of the sugars being absorbed into the cell, they are locked out and saturate the bloodstream.
A study in 2009 by Diabetes/Metabolism Research review published research that indicates that a diet supplemented with MCT leads to less insulin resistance. If the insulin can be used by the body properly, then this leads to more stable blood sugar levels. For people who want to lose weight, it means there is no need to consume more food because you are using the food you consume efficiently.
There are some studies that indicate that coconut oil targets abdominal fat to help people lose inches around their waist. When it is part of a low-calorie diet, it can reduce belly fat.
In a 2003 study published in the International Journal of Obesity, participants took 30 ml of coconut oil each day for a total of 12 weeks. Their waist circumference, as well as cholesterol levels, decreased.
A possible explanation for this is this result is that coconut oil stimulates fat oxidation. This process causes less fat to be maintained in the body and may also increase how much energy the body uses.
The MCT in coconut oil is also able to increase energy in the body. The quick absorption means that the mitochondria of cells can produce more adenosine triphosphate, a form of energy. An increase in cellular energy means more energy for the whole body.
Being more energetic has a practical effect on weight loss. It is easier to exercise and do other physical activities when you are not feeling lethargic. The increase in movements spends more calories and builds muscles, both of which lead to weight loss.
Another way that coconut oil affects weight loss has less to do with physical effects. People who consume coconut oil tend to be more health conscious. This is not necessarily true in all occasions. But, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to say that those who consume it are more updated when it comes to health trends and dieting news.
Consumption of coconut oil can be part of a larger picture of healthier habits. In other words, those who take coconut oil are likely to also calorie count and experiment with other nutritious food. There is often a chain reaction when it comes to healthy habits. Eating well is usually done in conjunction with exercise, which leads to weight loss.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
Coconut oil is used for weight loss in many ways. It is usually taken in as a complement to existing diets or eating habits.
One of the easiest ways to use coconut oil is by adding it to beverages, like coffee or tea. The flavor profile of coconut gives the drink a distinct tropical taste. It can also be added to cold drinks. However, since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, make sure to melt it first so that there are no solid bits in the drink, which can be unpleasant.
Another way to use coconut oil for weight loss is by substitution. You can simply replace the oil in a recipe with coconut oil in a one-to-one ration. It can be used in stir-fried dishes, for sautéing vegetables, and even in baked goods. If the coconut oil does not work with the recipe, substitute with refined coconut oil because the flavor is not as strong.
Coconut oil can be taken in capsule form. Whether the oil is solid, or liquid does not affect its effectivity. The advantage of capsules is that it is easier to take during travel. It also lets people take the appropriate dosages more easily.
The simplest way of consuming the coconut oil is to take it directly. Conventional belief suggests taking two tablespoons of the oil each day. This amount contains 18 grams of MCT on average, which is within the amount range needed to affect the rate of metabolism.
The amount may be small, but it hits the appropriate amount of fat needed. It is important to note that other fats can be taken in from other sources like avocados and nuts.
Coconut oil, like all other superfoods, is not perfect. Consuming it might lead to some side effects. For example, it can cause nausea or changes in bowel movement. These symptoms usually go away once the body adjusts to the coconut oil.
Side effects from consuming coconut oil can be minimized by slowly adding the oil in the diet, instead of shocking the system with the maximum amount of oil right away. People with high cholesterol should also proceed with caution when it comes to taking coconut oil. In these cases, they should get clearance from their doctors.
When using coconut oil for weight loss, limit the total saturated fat taken in, including the fat from coconut oil. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that the maximum amount should be less than 7% of the total calories taken in.