Although there have not yet been any real clinical trials into coconut oil and its impact on weight loss, there are plenty of anecdotal stories where people are proclaiming their coconut oil weight loss success. There seems to be several reasons why it could be effective, some of which have basis in sound scientific fact.
The positive impact that coconut oil has on losing weight seems to come from three things:
1) Coconut oil kills sugar cravings. For many dieters, their downfall mostly comes from craving sweet things - and then giving into temptation. Since coconut oil is very sweet, it can stop you reaching for that candy bar or slice of cake following a meal.
2) Coconut oil is filling. Although the reasons are not fully understood, coconut oil seems to act as an appetite suppressant in many people. This can help you to cut out snacking in between meals.
3) Coconut oil speeds up the metabolism. People who have shared their coconut oil weight loss success stories are convinced that the oil helps to boost the body's metabolic rate.
But what is the scientific evidence to back up these claims?
Why Coconut Oil Affects Weight Loss
Science suggests that the main reason why coconut oil helps people to lose weight is that it is a saturated fat. There are different types of fat which are found in food. Laboratory studies on livestock have shown that feeding animals polyunsaturated fats - such as those found in corn oil - produces a higher percentage of body fat. On the other hand, saturated fats - like coconut oil - produces a much leaner meat.
Of course, it cannot be said with full certainty that findings from studies on livestock can be applied to humans. However, there are other reasons to believe that the fats in coconut oil are beneficial. Saturated fats are essential for the absorption of vitamin E, A, D and K, because these vitamins are only soluble in fat. A healthy and nourished body has a better functioning metabolism. In addition to this, saturated fat promotes the production of conjugated linoleic acid, which also plays a role in weight loss.
But why supplement your diet with coconut oil specifically? After all, there are many foods which contain saturated fat. Well, it is believed that coconut oil may be especially effective because it contains medium chain fatty acids. These are transported to the liver, where the metabolism is boosted through a process called thermogenesis. In comparison, most plant based oils contain longer chain fatty acids. These do not have the same benefits to the digestive system, and may be converted by the body into fat stores.
How To Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used in many regular recipes, such as curry. However, you can also take it on its own. People who have shared their own coconut oil weight loss success recommend taking one to two tablespoons of the oil, following every meal.