The Overlooked Yet Powerful Benefits Of Coconut Oil For Weight Loss
Whether you need to get rid of those last few pounds or are simply interested in maintaining lost weight, incorporating coconut oil into your daily diet can go a long way in helping you both lose as well as maintain body weight. In fact, people in Philippines and India have been using coconut oil for weight loss for many centuries now!
Coconut oil has a unique combination of fatty acids, which effectively boost the human body’s natural metabolic rate, burn calories and melt away belly fat. Once you get used to a diet based on coconut oil, you start feeling fuller for longer periods of time; hunger pangs don’t bother you anymore and binge eating becomes a thing of the past!
Let’s carry out a detailed analysis of coconut oil and find out:
- How it aids weight loss?
- The calories contained in it
- How it should be used in everyday diet
Thereafter, we’ll touch upon the best coconut oil you should have for weight reduction and maintenance (as not every coconut oil has same weight loss advantages).
About calories in coconut oil:
If anyone’s asked how to use coconut oil to lose weight, the person may wonder if it’s even possible, as coconut oil is nothing but fat?
Let’s break it down for you!
Every gram of fat normally has 9 calories in it, and coconut oil isn’t very different. Rather, it has fewer calories as it’s made up of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that are smaller in size compared to the fatty acids contained in other vegetable oils. Regardless, common sense says that if you eat a certain number of calories each day and then add coconut oil to your diet, you may end up gaining, and not losing weight.
Now here’s the thing - a majority of people don’t count calories and unknowingly consume a certain amount of food per day. It’s like a mental limit at which one feels satiated enough. Keeping that in mind, introduction of coconut oil to your daily diet will not just work as a healthy replacement, but will also suppress your appetite and reduce your consumption of other unwanted foods.
Hence, it’s not so much about an addition of more fat calories into your diet, as much it is about a replacement of the regular ones consumed via other cooking oils (with coconut oil).
Having mentioned all of the above, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t go overboard with coconut oil consumption if you’re serious about reaping its weight loss benefits. It’s best to consume anywhere from 2 tablespoons (30 g) to 6 tablespoons (90 g) per day depending on your body weight. More on that and how you should have it in the sections below.
How coconut oil helps in weight loss:
If we talk about super foods that have the ability to help you undergo quick weight loss, coconut oil can be easily clubbed with the best. Using a good quality organic virgin coconut oil can deliver various benefits that directly impact the body’s natural ability to shed even the most stubborn pounds.
Many of these benefits have in fact been proven by the scientific community; not to forget that tropical cultures in different parts of the world have already been making the most of these benefits for several centuries now.
Right from improved thyroid health, hormone balancing to improved BMR (basal metabolic rate), there are many ways in which drinking coconut oil is helpful in weight loss. Let’s go over each one of them below.
1. Enhances your body’s energy levels
Coconut oil is quite different from the other fats or oils we use for our day-to-day cooking. While the majority of the other oils comprise of long chain triglycerides (having long chain fatty acids) or LCTs, coconut oil is made up of medium-chain triglycerides (having medium chain fatty acids or MCFAs) or MCTs.
Essentially, medium-chain triglycerides are a type of triglycerides which have an aliphatic tail of 6-12 carbon atoms in their fatty acids. How they are different from the LCTs (fats contained in the majority of dairy and meat products) is that they’re metabolized very differently compared to their long chain counterparts. Their reduced chain length makes them easily absorbable by the body and quickly metabolized and burnt too, in the form of fuel.
As a result, you experience an improved metabolism. The calories contained in MCTs get actively converted into fuel, for instant usage by the different body organs and muscles, rather than getting stored in the form of fat.
How this impacts your weight loss efforts? Well, as MCTs are directly transported to the liver where they’re immediately converted into energy, you feel more energetic at all times. Adding only 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil into your daily diet, first thing in the morning can significantly boost your body’s energy levels by around 5% for the next 24-hour time period! That may seem less, but can make a huge difference in the overall scheme of things, including your workouts!
2. It takes care of hunger pangs and reduces food cravings
As mentioned earlier, MCTs are transported directly to the liver via the digestive tract. Thereafter, they’re either instantly converted into energy, fulfilling body’s immediate needs, or are transformed into ketone bodies. Such fats are normally consumed by epileptic patients, who are specifically put on a ketogenic diet, so as to increase their bodies’ ketone levels, while simultaneously making room for some more carbohydrates.
A major added benefit of these ketone bodies is that they reduce the food cravings and hunger pangs significantly. And that directly translates into quick weight loss.
So all you require is 2 to 3 servings of coconut oil per day, to make you feel fuller at all times, doing away with the need of constant snacking in-between the meals.
3. Works as a quick fat burner
Anyone wanting to reduce daily calorie intake for weight loss purposes, without making any compromise on health, must use coconut oil to improve his/her body’s digestion process and nutrient absorption ability. This way, you’ll find yourself eating less food without feeling fatigued or weak all the time.
In addition, since coconut oil functions as a natural mood elevator, it’s daily intake can help you to de-stress and feel motivated to indulge in cardio activities, which in turn may also contribute to fat burning.
4. Balances body’s hormone levels
Your body cannot efficiently synthesize hormones required for metabolism, sex drive, digestion, thyroid function, and mood, in the absence of its basic building blocks – fatty acids or their derivatives.
The medium-chain triglycerides contained in coconut oil help the body in an easy conversion of cholesterol present in the blood stream into sterone pregnenolone, an endogenous biochemical which is one of the primary precursors for the production of hormones in the human body.
In a nutshell, what this means is that coconut oil aids production of healthy hormones in the body, which in turn reduce anxiety and stress levels, improve digestion, enhance energy and help you get rid of stubborn fat deposits in areas like thighs, buttocks, and waist.
5. Helps in efficient absorption of nutrients
As also mentioned earlier, regular consumption of coconut oil improves the body’s digestion ability. In fact, its daily consumption can help your digestive tract absorb different fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin D and vitamin A, far more efficiently.
All these vitamins play a crucial role in different bodily aspects like improved mood, better brain function, cellular regeneration and maintenance of healthy bones and skin. Vitamin D in particular aids digestion by improving the absorption of essential minerals like zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium in the body.
How does this help in weight loss? If your body gets all the essential minerals and vitamins it needs, you’ll feel good at all times. It’d lead to higher motivation, decreased hunger and less stress for accomplishment of your general as well as fitness goals.
6. Aids stabilization of blood sugar levels
As coconut oil gets easily absorbed without the need of any digestive enzymes, there is lesser stress put on the pancreas, which can instead stay focused on efficient insulin production in the body.
In addition, coconut oil being a saturated fat, it causes cells to bind with insulin more easily during the digestion process. With the regulation of the insulin levels in the body, the cells get the right amount of blood sugar or glucose they need for fueling your day-to-day activities.
How does this help in weight loss? As explained, daily consumption of coconut oil can help you regulate your blood sugar levels through efficient production and uptake of insulin. As a result, you get the right quantities of glucose to stay energetic and lose weight.
How to use coconut oil for weight loss?
Now that you’ve learned that coconut oil is indeed very helpful for weight loss, let’s go over how you should use it specifically towards this end. The composition of coconut oil is such that it naturally solidifies at 24°C or 76°F. Hence, it’s best to liquefy it (preferably in hot water) prior to its consumption for weight loss.
It is best to consume coconut oil at least 20 minutes before your main meals, as doing so will suppress your appetite and make you feel fuller more quickly. Resultantly, you’ll be able to get by and feel satiated even with smaller portions.
Simply add 1 to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a mug and then add some herbal tea or hot water to liquefy it. Now simply stir it a bit, let it melt and then drink. Following are some guidelines you can use to figure how much coconut oil is good enough for you:
- If you weigh 90 lbs to 130 lbs, you should have 1 tablespoon of coconut oil prior to main meals, and no more than 3 tablespoons per day.
- If you weigh 131 lbs to 180 lbs, you should have 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil prior to main meals, and no more than 4.5 tablespoons per day.
- If you weigh more than 180 lbs, you should have 2 tablespoons of coconut oil prior to main meals, and no more than 6 tablespoons per day.
As an alternative, you can even eat coconut oil as it is (if you can) and let your body temperature liquefy it inside your mouth! It may hardly take a few seconds! Another way to have it is in the form of coconut oil capsules, but we can’t say how effective it’d be as you can only have a limited amount of oil in capsule form. Some other ways in which you can include coconut oil in your daily diet are by:
- Making nut butter from it
- Using it to bake foods and/or roast vegetables
- Making popcorns and/or smoothies with it
- Using it as a salad dressing
- Incorporating it during mayonnaise preparation; along with some olive oil
Which is the best coconut oil for weight loss?
Please note that not all coconut oils are created equal when it comes to their weight loss benefits. There are basically 2 kinds of coconut oil available in the marketplace – refined and virgin
- RBD or refined coconut oil is produced from the dried kernel or coconut copra. It may also be chemically treated during the production process.
- VCO or virgin coconut oil is produced by pressing the fresh coconut milk, milk residue or meat.
When buying coconut oil specifically for weight loss purposes, it’s recommended that you opt for unrefined, organic, cold-pressed extra virgin coconut oil that’s been ethically sourced. This is because it would normally have all the required essential micro nutrients, as well as ample antioxidants to meet your needs. Furthermore, the oil should have been manufactured by a reputed brand.
To close, we’d like to say that use of coconut oil for weight loss is nothing new. In fact, it’s been tried and tested in many cultures throughout the world and has been in practice for many centuries. You should aim to gradually increase your daily coconut oil and take it to a point that it becomes an integral part of your everyday diet. Actually, it should become a part of your lifestyle as we’re essentially looking for long-term weight maintenance and not short-term benefits. Using coconut oil in the form of a temporary weight loss solution may not help you much in your quest for a slim and shapely body figure. Lastly, it goes without saying that you must complement coconut oil consumption with regular exercise to achieve best results.