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Living Well

Coconut Oil And Weight Loss: Show Me The Evidence

Aug 2, 2017

Is there a connection between coconut oil and weight loss? Yes, there is. With much controversy continuing to surround the debate on saturated fats in coconut oil, we need to focus on correct education on what’s best for your health. Do you decide to avoid all saturated fats because you’d rather not face the drama of controversy? Are you still waiting for some scientific evidence to clear up the never ending debate? You may be missing out on some key health benefits, especially if you believe that you should avoid coconut oil because of its high saturated fat content.

Coconut Oil and Weight Loss: The Surprising Connection

The US National Library of Medicine publishes many high authority, well-respected scientific research and as such, holds great insight into studies conducted on various saturated fats.

One particular study published on US National Library of Medicine explores whether MCTs, like those found in coconut oil, has an impact on weight loss. Different types of oils were trialled in a 16-week weight loss program in 31 overweight men and women.

“Our results suggest that MCT oil can be incorporated into a weight loss program without fear of adversely affecting metabolic risk factors. Small changes in the quality of fat intake can therefore be useful to enhance weight loss”.

In fact, swapping long chain fatty acids (LCT) with MCT or coconut oil have now been trialled in both animal and human studies and result in:

  • Greater energy expenditure (up to 65% more than LCT)
  • Less body weight gain
  • Decreased size of fat deposits long term (over several months)
  • Lower body fat mass
  • Greater satiating effect (fuller feeling) i.e. decreased food intake

Unique MCTs Found in Coconut Oil

It’s important to consider the type of saturated fat, as they all have different effects on your health, i.e. they are not all bad for you. The chain length or carbon atoms that make up saturated fats are important when considering the health benefits.

Short chain: 2 to 6 – Found in butter

Medium chain: 8 to 10 – Found in tropical oils such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil

Long chain: 12 to 24 – Found in meat and dairy products

The saturated fat found in coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides (MCT) and react in the body completely different to other saturated fats.

Much of the saturated fat debate comes from the fact that minimal studies have been carried out on the effects of medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) until only recently. Recent studies are beginning to shine a light on this controversial topic. Because coconut oil is one of the richest sources of MCTs, it is one of the most powerful foods for weight loss.