Coconut oil consumption has drastically reduced in the US in the last 10 years. And also the obesity has also reached its peak. As per OECD, 3/4th of all Americans would be obese by 2020.
Is the consumption of coconut oil inversely proportional to obesity in the US? Does coconut oil and virgin coconut oil help truly help lose weight?
The answer is a resounding yes. But how? When the coconut oil has the most saturated fat compared to any other oil, why should we choose coconut oil?
We will understand each element, find out the truth of coconut oil & its element, and look into two research studies to verify the claim.
Let’s start with what coconut oil and also virgin coconut oil is.
What is Coconut Oil & Virgin Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is also termed as copra oil. This edible oil is extracted from the white meat of mature coconuts. It also consists of 84% saturated fat; whereas, olive oil has only 14% saturated fat and butter comprises of 63%.
It may seem alarming that coconut oil contains a high percentage of saturated fat, but experts argue that the saturated fat in coconut oil is mostly (around 50%) MCT (Medium-Chain Triglycerides), that’s quite different than LCT (Longer-Chains Triglycerides).
Maybe that’s the reason the world has slowly been embracing the benefits of coconut oil over olive oil, sunflower oil, or soybean oil.
But there’s more. Before understanding the virgin coconut oil consumption benefits, you need to understand the difference between coconut oil and virgin coconut oil. Most coconut oils that are available in the market are refined, bleached, and deodorized. Whereas, virgin coconut oil is extracted directly from the fresh milk of coconut using a specific technology called “cold-processed technology” and as a result, the virgin coconut oil remains unrefined.
What’s the difference between MCT & LCT?
The most important difference between MCT & LCT is the number of carbon atoms they contain. MCT contains 6 to 12 carbon atoms; whereas LCT consists of over 12 carbon atoms.
Having 6-12 carbon atoms in MCT allows quick digestion of dietary fat without any enzyme. And when MCT reaches our liver, it gets digested and transformed into ketones. Ketones don’t get stored as fat and promote weight loss.
Whatever dietary fatty acids we find in fish, nuts, olive oil, seeds are LCTs and not MCTs. Only virgin coconut oil has MCT and that’s why coconut oil helps you lose weight. Plus, virgin coconut oil also acts as an appetite suppressant.
Two Research Studies to understand the truth
Now, let’s find out from the researchers whether the virgin coconut oil helps you reduce weight or not.
The first study was done by the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University and New York Obesity Research Center, New York. In the study, 49 overweight individuals (men & women) of 19 years to 50 years consumed MCT oil or olive oil as per their preference. After 16 weeks, 31 individuals that consumed MCT oil had lost more weight and their fat mass & belly mass were also lower.
The second study was done by a university in Brazil. In the study, 40 women of 20 to 40 years of age took coconut oil or soybean oil as a dietary supplement along with a weight loss program for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks, it was seen that the BMI of both groups (women who took coconut oil and women who chose soybean oil) had decreased. But only women that took coconut oil had decreased their waist circumference. And the women that ate soybean oil had an increase in cholesterol (which was not the case for women who took coconut oil).
These two studies prove that virgin coconut oil actually helps you lose weight and it’s not just another fad of the media.
How would you consume virgin coconut oil for weight loss?
You can use virgin coconut oil for weight loss in two ways:
- With protein shake: If you’re having a protein shake as a dietary supplement, you can add a spoon of virgin coconut oil instead of using milk. It’s a tiny habit that will help you in the long run.
- Discard any oil that encourages inflammation: Another way you can consume more virgin coconut oil is to discard sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc. from your kitchen. These oils encourage inflammation.
From the above discussion, it’s clear that virgin coconut oil is certainly an oil you can rely upon if you want to lose weight.
But the question still remains is how much virgin coconut oil you should use on a daily basis? The answer lies in how much you would like the taste of virgin coconut oil. If you enjoy consuming virgin coconut oil, you can use it for all purposes – for cooking, for adding a spoon-full to your salad or shake, and for dressing.
You can start with a table-spoon a day and then gradually increase consumption.