The health benefits of coconut oil have been researched and proven in over 1,600 studies to date. In fact, people call on this amazing oil to combat diabetes, heart disease, chronic fatigue, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, thyroid conditions, and more. Impressive, right? But what does coconut oil have to do with your waistline? (1)
Coconut Oil And Fatty Acids
So what’s in this miracle fruit oil that makes it so amazing?
Well, most oils consist entirely of long-chain triglycerides, but this “Jewel of the Tropics” is high in medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fatty acid. The difference is in how the body metabolizes these fats. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) have an unusual chemical structure that allows the body to digest them easily. They are absorbed and taken straight to the liver to be used for energy, which can in turn raise the metabolic rate of the body.
That’s right! The body doesn’t store this fuel as fat. Instead it uses MCTs to generate energy, which speeds up your metabolism.
Studies have shown that when taken with or before a meal, the medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil decrease appetite. This type of fat has also been shown to be both anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Clinical studies have shown that the consumption of coconut oil leads to greater energy expenditure in the body, suggesting that it may be useful for weight management.
Improves Your Waistline
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition set out to determine whether or not the medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil improve body weight and fat loss, using olive oil (long-chain triglycerides) as a comparison.
Forty-nine overweight men and women aged 19-50 consumed either olive oil or coconut oil as part of a weight loss program for 16 weeks. The participants received weekly group weight loss counseling and had their body weight and waist circumferences measured weekly. The study showed that those who consumed coconut oil lost more weight. That is, they had a “lower endpoint body weight” than those who ate the olive oil. There was also a trend toward a greater loss of fat mass with the coconut oil.
The conclusion? The consumption of coconut oil as part of a weight loss plain improves both weight loss and fat loss.
The oil we’re talking about here is virgin coconut oil. The conventional kind — you know, the kind found in some candies, coffee creamers, and even in movie theater popcorn — comes from dried coconut that is pulverized, cooked, and treated with chemicals. The labeling on these oils can get tricky, but you probably want to stick to organic, virgin cold-pressed coconut oil.
Not only is this metabolism-boosting oil good for your waistline, it’s great for protecting your heart as well. The saturated fats in coconut oil increase the healthy cholesterol (HDL) in your body while converting the bad cholesterol (LDL) into good cholesterol. Increasing HDL in the body promotes heart health by lowering the risk of heart disease.
Many diseases today stem from an overgrowth of bacteria, fungus, viruses and parasites in the body. Virgin coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is a potent anti-microbial agent. It fights bacteria in the body to help block out viruses and keep your immune system strong and healthy. Be beware of the non-virgin version. When manufacturers process this oil, they strip out the lauric acid. So, again, stick with the virgin version.
For weight loss purposes, it’s best to liquify the coconut oil in hot water before consuming it. Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a mug and add hot water or herbal tea. Stir until melted, then drink twenty minutes before eating a meal. You should start to notice that it allows you to feel full more quickly, on smaller portions.
As always, consult your doctor if you have any underlying health issues or concerns.