When you mention “coconut oil,” people always go nuts. It is definitely one of the most weight loss-friendly fats on the market. But there are things you need to know. Aside from the nitty-gritty as to how coconut oil helps you lose weight, you need to know how to consume it as well as which types of coconut oil are good to consume (and which aren’t). Coconut oil is extremely healthy due to the unique combination of fatty acids that have powerful and positive effects on your metabolism. Here are some ways that coconut oil helps you lose weight.
Coconut oil helps with your energy levels
In order to lose weight, you must exercise. And in order to exercise, you need energy. Lots of energy. That being said, one way that coconut oil helps with weight loss is by increasing your energy levels. One of the main components of coconut oil is lauric acid, an essential fatty acid that metabolizes differently than other saturated fats. And the best part is your body works in a way that medium-chain triglyceride lauric acid is transported directly to the liver, where it is converted into energy.
That means that whenever you are consuming coconut oil, your body doesn’t digest MCT as a fat, but provides energy instead. On average, a tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning will boost your energy levels by 5% for the day.
Coconut oil decreases hunger
One of the biggest enemies to weight loss is hunger and stress eating (your brain sends hunger signals to your body). And I’m sure that you probably ate something only an hour before. The thing is, what you eat matters. There are certain foods that classify as “empty calories,” but coconut oil is not one of those. In fact, coconut oil is the opposite. Foods that reduce appetite and makes us feel full are the ones we need for losing weight.
Now, when we talk about reducing appetite and hunger, we’re not talking it in an unhealthy way. No, you still need to get your three main meals per day, plus two snacks in between. But you don’t need to eat just for the sake of eating because you feel hungry. And in most cases, you feel hungry because you consume empty calories. Coconut oil solves that problem. Medium chain fatty acids, those we mentioned in the previous section, increase the feeling of fullness more than any other type of calorie. And it all comes down to the way these fats are metabolized by our body.
Coconut oil burns fat faster
The best way to lose weight is to burn more fat. As in, burn fat faster. You’ve probably heard about “metabolism boosting foods.” Coconut oil falls into that group. Consuming coconut oil will improve your body’s ability to digest food and absorb nutrients. And by doing so, you’re eating less, but you don’t feel weak as a result.
In addition, a daily dose of coconut oil will reduce your stress levels. And if there is one thing you need to eliminate, it’s stress eating. By improving digestion and regulating appetite, coconut oil helps you burn more fat. Now, it’s important to stress that one tablespoon of coconut oil won’t make you lose 5 pounds per month. But it will help.
Achieving the perfect balance of your hormones is extremely important if you want to lose weight. Fatty acids help your body properly synthesize hormones. All these hormones are needed for proper thyroid function, digestion, metabolism, mood, and even sex drive. The best thing that coconut oil does is convert cholesterol in the blood stream into “sterone pregnenolone,” a biochemical that is one of the main tools your body uses to produce hormones.
Coconut oil helps you lose abdominal fat
Anyone who has ever tried to lose fat knows that abdominal fat is the hardest to get rid of. Sometimes, no matter how hard you work out, you just can’t get rid of abdominal fat. Belly fat is the worst fat of them all, and there are a number of studies showing that coconut oil helps reduce abdominal fat. Also called visceral fat, abdominal fat tends to lodge around your organs and cause inflammation. And any reduction of this vicious type of fat has a positive effect on your metabolic health.
Coconut oil stabilizes blood sugar levels
When you are trying to lose weight, one of the first things you need to do is stabilize your blood sugar level. Lower your blood sugar levels and you will have sugar cravings the entire day. And we know all about the negative effect eating chocolate or sweets has on you if you consume them throughout the day. But when you consume coconut oil, your pancreas is under less stress, and as a result, it produces insulin properly and efficiently. In addition, coconut oil has fats that make it easier for cells to bind with insulin.
One tablespoon of coconut oil in the morning will stabilize your blood sugar level and promote healthy and efficient production of insulin and glucose for your energy levels.
Coconut oil helps with nutrients absorption
As mentioned above, coconut oil helps other nutrients bind with your cells. And coconut oil also improves digestion. When you get proper amounts of coconut oil, your digestive tract can absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, K, and E more easily and efficiently. All of these vitamins are responsible for important processes in your body, such as cellular regeneration, brain function, and improved mood. When your body has the minerals and vitamins it needs, you will feel better.
How to use coconut oil for weight loss
One thing I have to note now: all things in moderation. Coconut oil is extremely healthy, but at the same time, it’s high in calories—which means that you should limit your intake. In other words, although coconut oil is healthy, if you take it in large doses, you’ll do more harm than good.
So, the question is, what is the right dosage? First, we need to note that the best time to consume coconut oil is 20 minutes before mealtime.
- For people between 90 and 130 lbs, one tablespoon before each main meal is the recommended dosage.
- For people between 130 and 180 lbs, 1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil before each meal is the recommended dosage.
- People over 180 lbs can consume 2 tablespoons before each meal.
Of course, if you don’t want to consume coconut oil on its own, just add it to your smoothies, cook with it, or even bake with it.
Types of coconut oil
One of the biggest misconceptions about coconut oil, and all oils in general, for that matter, is that refined coconut oil is unhealthy. You need to understand all types of coconut oil, just so you know which is the best and what can you choose.
Pretty much by definition, coconut oil is a refined product. Remember, oil doesn’t grow on a tree. The only way to get unrefined coconut oil is to consume it directly from the coconut you just picked off the tree. There are several types of refined coconut oil, and several types of virgin coconut oil:
- Expeller pressed coconut oil is refined coconut oil produced in tropical countries. The oil is produced through mechanical “physical refining,” which is considered cleaner refining than chemical refining. There are no chemicals and extracts like hexane, for example. This is the most expensive refined coconut oil, but it is still way cheaper than virgin coconut oil.
- Coconut oil is an oil you see with no description. That means that the oil is refined and mass produced with solvent extracts. This is probably the cheapest version of coconut oil you can get, but the least healthy (although it is still healthier than canola and sunflower oil, two of the unhealthiest cooking oils).
- Hydrogenated coconut oil is refined oil, but you want to stay away from this. Some trans fats are created during the refining process. For some reason, these coconut oils stay solid at higher temperatures, which is unnatural.
- Liquid coconut oil is a new product that has recently appeared on the market. It is an edible oil, but one thing to note is that liquid coconut oil does not contain lauric acid. And as we mentioned above, lauric acid is the healthiest component of coconut oil.
Extra virgin coconut oil is no different than virgin coconut oil. This is just a marketing term, and nothing more. There is a difference when you talk about extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil, but for coconut oil, there is no difference. There are two types of virgin coconut oil:
The first type is derived from pressing the oil out of a dried coconut. For this method, workers dry out the coconut meat, and then press out the oil from the coconut. The method is more suitable for mass production of virgin coconut oil, which is the most common virgin coconut oil you can find in stores.
The second method for obtaining virgin coconut oil is the “wet milling” method. During the process, the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat (there is no drying out the coconut). Workers press the wet coconut meat to extract the oil, and then it is further separated from the water (e.g., by boiling or fermentation). This is probably the healthiest olive oil you can get, but also the most expensive.