Coconut oil is one of the most weight-loss-friendly fats you can add to your diet. It’s rich in medium-chain saturated fatty acids that are readily used as energy. Such fatty acids can boost your metabolism. Some studies have found that coconut oil can help you control your appetite and your calorie intake, too. Several small studies on medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, and coconut oil show it has potential as a weight-loss aid, but more research is required to verify this.
A study published in the "European Journal of Nutrition" in 2013 examined the effects of chili and MCT oil. Those who ate breakfast with chili and MCT oil experienced a 50 percent increase in heat production and improvements in fullness and lower calorie intake. It's not clear if the MCTs in coconut oil alone will produce these effects. With reduced hunger, you could eat less often and consequently lose weight.
Helps Burn Fat
A small study published in "Obesity Research" in 2003 researched the effects of medium-chain triglycerides on people with obesity. The 24 overweight participants experienced a greater loss of upper abdominal fat with coconut oil than those who took olive oil, possibly due to an increase in calorie expenditure. In another small study, published in the "ISRN Pharmacology" in 2011, participants consumed virgin coconut oil half an hour before each meal for a month. The researchers found that the male participants experienced a significant reduction in their waist circumference, but the female participants did not.
Burn More Calories
The body is more efficient in metabolizing MCTs in coconut oil than long-chain fatty acids, which store in your body as fat. You could experience weight loss when you replace long-chain fatty acids in your diet with coconut oil. In 2012, the journal "Nutrition Hospitalaria" published a review of 10 years of research. Among the reviewed studies, six showed MCTs led to a decrease in body mass and consequent weight loss, one showed an increase in fullness and four found an increase in calorie expenditure. But the reviewers concluded that MCTs' effect on weight loss is uncertain and requires more research.
Using Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and lauric acid, which has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Select virgin coconut oil to reap its nutritional benefits, as refined forms will have most of the phytonutrients damaged by the heating process. Coconut oil has a high smoke point, which makes it ideal for stir-fry dishes. When using coconut oil on a weight-loss diet, however, don't forget to watch your portions because just 1 tablespoon contains 117 calories. Due to limited data on its effects, consult a doctor before including coconut oil in your weight-loss diet.