Common understanding about nutrition changes all the time. Diet fads pop up every day trying to lure people into using a particular new product. But sometimes the old, readily available foods can provide exactly what we need.
First off let’s start by dispelling the myth that all fat is bad for you, and that you should simply cut it from your diet in order to lose weight. This method of dieting is not only outdated, but also highly misleading and potentially dangerous!
Coconut oil, along with other tropical and saturated oils, was been debased as an unhealthy food during the whole low-fat craze. But after years of research into the effects of different types of fatty acids on the body, it is becoming increasingly apparent that organic virgin coconut oil can be a powerful ally in the quest to reach a healthy weight if eaten in the proper amounts.
One thing you probably don’t think of is a coconut—and especially the oil extracted from its flesh. Not that long ago, coconut oil ruled alongside partially hydrogenated soybean oil as the worst of the “bad fats.” Maybe you know them by their other name: trans fatty acids.
These were the fats that were shown in repeated studies to increase the risk for heart disease and obesity, in addition to being linked to everything from depression to infertility. They’re the reason you stopped buying movie-theater popcorn!
How to Use Coconut Oil for Weight Loss
Coconut oil is best taken in small amounts throughout the day. Eating one tablespoon about 20 minutes before each meal (assuming you have three meals per day) seems to be the most effective way to get the metabolism-boosting and appetite-suppressing benefits. People who weigh more than 150 lbs can take a bit more, up to two tablespoons before each of your three meals.
You can eat the coconut oil right out of the jar, or melt it by adding it to warm water or herbal tea. A digestion-boosting tea like ginger goes great with the melted coconut oil.
You can also add coconut oil to smoothies to help them make you feel full for longer. If you eat cooked food, you can use coconut oil for frying (follow the heat directions on the jar label) baking, and as a replacement for other types of oil in almost any recipe or preparation.
Coconut oil is especially great with cooked or raw greens, as it helps your body absorbs the fat-soluble vitamins A, E, K, and D more efficiently and adds delicious flavor.
It is important to keep in mind that coconut oil is very calorie-dense, and will only help you lose weight if you replace the calories you are already eating, not add the oil on top of your current diet. Fat contains 9 calories per gram. Factor these additional calories into your overall daily total for the best results.
Why Coconut Oil Supports Weight Loss
Organic virgin coconut oil helps the body lose weight in a variety of ways. It is comprised of medium chain fatty acids (MCFA). These are the building blocks of brain, muscle, and heart tissue. Several studies have shown that eating MCFAs can boost fat loss, especially abdominal fat. One study found they could increase energy expenditure by as much as 120 calories per day.
MCFAs boost metabolism because they are immediately processed into energy, without being stored in fat cells. They also do not require enzymes from the pancreas to break down, enabling the pancreas to produce insulin more efficiently. When insulin is being efficiently created and moved through the body, the cells receive the glucose (blood sugar) necessary to function.
This leads to eating just the amount of food required to function well and have the energy you need to exercise, and can decrease overeating.
MCFAs are appetite suppressants, increasing the feeling of fullness, reducing hunger, and providing lasting energy so less food needs to be eaten at each meal. They also help stabilize blood sugar levels, avoiding the peaks and crashes that lead to eating too much sugar and other diet-sabotaging behaviors.
Lastly, the body needs fatty acids to produce hormones, and balanced hormonal levels are a key factor in attaining and maintaining a healthy weight. MCFAs promote the production of healthy hormones that support digestion, balance stress, anxiety, and energy levels, increase energy, and control the burning of stored fat.
It is important to get coconut oil that is not processed with heat or chemical solvents. These treatments reduce the beneficial properties of the oil and may even make it toxic. It is best to eat only organic, virgin or extra virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil.
Bonus points if you get an oil that is Fair Trade certified and rainforest safe. Coconut oil will keep for a long time at room temperature, though it can go rancid after several months if it is frequently exposed to drastic temperature changes (melts and re-hardens every day)
Virgin Coconut Oil for Weight Loss and Thyroid
Due to poor testing of the thyroid many people suffer from poor thyroid function (hypothyroidism) and don’t even know it. When your thyroid is sluggish you can’t lose weight no matter how little you eat.
Symptoms of a sluggish thyroid are:
Cold hands and feet
Low body temperature
Depression and anxiety
Insomnia and other sleep problems
Dry skin and brittle nails
Allergies and asthma
So How is Coconut Oil Different from Other Saturated Fats?
There is a HUGE difference between Coconut Oil (a medium chain fatty acid) and most other saturated fats like lard, butter and vegetable oils (long chain fatty acids). Our body quickly breaks down and uses up medium chain fatty acids – burning them for energy like carbohydrates.
Coconut Oil works as a weight loss aid in a variety of ways…
BOOSTS ENERGY – containing less calories than other oils, Coconut Oil is a fat that is not converted to carbohydrates or stored as fats – avoiding weight gain – its medium chain fatty acids able to enter and be directly used by cells for energy!
BURNS FAT – the medium chain fatty acids also help your body burn stored fat for energy by promoting fat oxidation, therefore helping you shed unwanted pounds!
INCREASES METABOLISM – by improving thyroid function, your body produces more thyroxin (the body’s accelerator), thereby boosting energy expenditure (even while resting) and promoting weight loss!
BURNS CALORIES TO GENERATE HEAT – Coconut Oil’s thermogenic property is one of the most beneficial in a weight loss aid, burning calories to keep you warm and active!
SUPPRESSES APPETITE – when taken before meals, Coconut Oil reduces your appetite during meals so you feel fuller sooner and eat less, promoting weight loss. It even helps stave away those hunger pangs after meals – reducing those calorific evening fridge gazes!