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Can Coconut Oil Help You Lose Weight?

written by: Cheryl Gabbert • edited by: Rhonda Callow • updated: 1/17/2011

Can using coconut oil actually help you lose weight? It seems too good to be true, but it just might be. Recent studies have shown that there are many positive benefits to using coconut oil as part of a healthy weight loss program. Coconut oil weight loss strategies just might be on target!

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    What's All the Buzz?

    What is the latest on coconut oil weight loss claims? There has been a lot of buzz about coconut oil recently, and all of the health benefits that may be associated with it. One claim is that coconut oil increases weight loss. That's hard to imagine, since coconut oil is 90% saturated fat! The reason behind this suggestion is that coconut oil is a MCT, or medium chain triglyceride. MCTs are more directly sent to the liver, where they are quickly burned. As a result, MCTs are less likely to be stored as fat. Coconut oil is immediately converted to energy, so after eating coconut oil, energy levels soar as a result of the metabolism of MCTs.

    Coconut oil is thought to increase thyroid function, which also results in an increased metabolism. Blood sugar is better regulated and some people have reported an increase in muscle development with a corresponding decrease in fat storage. Another claim is that eating coconut oil will help decrease a person's overall food and calorie consumption.

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    Research on Coconut Oil and Weight Loss

    Studies were done in the Pacific Islands back in the 1930s where researcher, Dr. Weston Price studied the diets of native cultures compared with the diet of modern cultures. Up to 60% of the Pacific Islanders diet consisted of high saturated fat from coconut oil.. Despite the high fat diet, these people were not obese and were in good health. Dental decay was minimal in these cultures also.

    In the 1940s, farmers began using coconut oil in order to fatten up their livestock. The opposite happened, and the cows became thinner, with higher levels of energy. The livestock had a great increase in their thyroid activity as well. They actually become somewhat hyperthyroid as a result of eating high levels of coconut oil.

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    Not Everyone Agrees

    Many physicians argue that coconut oil is a saturated fat and, therefore, should not be included in a healthy diet. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it contains 50% lauric acid, which helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It does not increase LDL (bad cholesterol) levels either. Since coconut oil is a very stable oil that doesn't change chemically at higher temperatures, it doesn't add to oxidative stress, unlike many other vegetable oils, according to physiologist, Dr. Ray Peat. Still, some traditional health professionals have yet to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon, so it's important to watch your own cholesterol levels if you decide to incorporate coconut oil into your diet.

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    How to Add Coconut Oil to Your Diet

    The easiest way to add coconut oil to your diet is to simply replace the butter, shortening, or other fats in the foods you cook with coconut oil. Some people like to simply take a teaspoon of coconut oil before meals. Coconut milk can be used in making Thai dishes, soups, stir-fries and desserts. The possibilities are endless.

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    Should You Give It a Try?

    If you think you'd like to try coconut oil for weight loss, check to make sure your doctor agrees that coconut oil is a safe way for you to attempt to lose weight. Replace the fats in your diet with coconut oil, but don't increase your overall calorie intake by increasing the amount of fat you consume each day. Go ahead and try a coconut oil weight loss strategy for a month, and see if it works for you.

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    Resources

    1. The Coconut Research Center: http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article10065.htm

    2. Coconut Oil: Miracle Medicine and Diet Pill: http://www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/CoconutOil.html#consuming

    3. About.com: www.thyroid.about.com