Coconut Oil For Weight Loss: Does It Work?

Coconut oil is widely promoted at the moment for weight loss, it is said to be the star oil. While the promises of coconut oil benefits seem great, the research is less clear. A few studies have looked at the weight loss benefits of coconut oil, and the results have been mixed. While some studies reported a decrease in participants’ body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, others did not.

All studies were carried out in the short term. And it’s important to note that the best-designed studies have evaluated coconut oil as part of a reduced-calorie diet and exercise program. There is no evidence that coconut oil has any beneficial effect on weight loss if you simply add it to your diet.

Coconut oil comes from the dried fruit (nut) of the coconut palm. Although it is called an oil, it is essentially solid at room temperature, closer in texture and consistency to a vegetable margarine. Coconut oil is composed of almost 93% fat, of which 92 to 92% are saturated fats. One tablespoon of coconut oil contains 11 grams of saturated fat.

Not all fats are the same

Fats can be characterized as either saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats can be subdivided into short, medium and long chain fatty acids. These types of fats have different effects in the body. Unlike long chain fatty acids, medium chain fatty acids are absorbed directly into the blood. They don’t raise blood cholesterol as much as long-chain fatty acids, and they don’t seem to be stored in the body’s fatty tissue as easily as long-chain fatty acids.

Coconut oil is interesting because it contains both medium and long chain fatty acids. The main component, however, is lauric acid. According to its structure and function, lauric acid falls in the middle, behaving in some ways as a medium-chain fatty acid and in another way as a long-chain fatty acid.

Many studies on medium chain fatty acids and their health benefits have been conducted with oils partially processed from coconut oil or other vegetable oils, which do not contain acid lauric. So it’s important not to draw conclusions about the benefits of coconut oil based on studies done with oils called medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils.

Other Research Findings

Researchers also studied the effect of coconut oil on blood cholesterol levels. Coconut oil appears to raise low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol; but not as much as foods that contain long-chain fatty acids, such as meat or whole dairy products. Some studies show that coconut oil may increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol, but it is unknown whether this has any beneficial effect on heart disease.

The body of evidence regarding dietary fats still supports the use of unsaturated oils, such as olive, canola, safflower or sunflower oil, instead of saturated fats or coconut oil for the management of cardiovascular risk factors.

Coconut oil also adds calories to your diet, approximately 120 calories per tablespoon of coconut oil. Therefore, it is unlikely to promote weight loss unless used with a calorie-controlled diet and physical activity.

Although moderate consumption of coconut oil coconut is not very harmful to health, nor is it likely to help you lose weight. If you enjoy the flavor of coconut oil, use it in moderation as part of a healthy diet. For successful and lasting weight loss, stick to the basics: regular physical activity and a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and other plant products, with calorie control.

Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can replace the advice of a health professional.

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