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Zap Fat with Fat?

Zap Fat with Fat?

Can coconut oil help you lose weight? There is science to suggest that the tropical oil may cause a slight (temporary) boost in your metabolism.

Anytime you eat, the process of digesting food burns off about 10 percent of the calories you consume. For example, if you consume 500 calories in a meal, your body uses about 50 of those calories to transform food into the energy that fuels your body. But theoretically if you eat a 500-calorie meal and replace the fat from oils or butter with coconut oil, your metabolism will speed up and burn more like 15 percent, or 75 calories.

It comes down to the molecular structure of the oil and how the body digests it. The fatty acids in coconut oil (called medium-chain triacylglycerols, or MCT) are shorter and more water-soluble than those in other oils, such as olive or canola. “So they’re more directly routed to the liver, where they’re readily burned for fuel,” explains Peter Jones, Ph.D., professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada. Therefore, they have less opportunity to be deposited in fat stores.

But there is no scientific evidence to show that consuming coconut oil helps people lose weight. There is one recent study, however, using an MCT oil, which suggests coconut oil may work in the same way. In the study, 31 overweight men and women followed a low-calorie diet that included just over a tablespoon for women and just under two tablespoons for men each day of either an MCT oil or olive oil. After four months, the MCT-oil users lost an average of 7 pounds; the olive oil group just 3 pounds. The investigators suggested that the metabolic boost produced by the MCT oil likely played a role.

Even if coconut oil does help people lose weight, few nutrition experts recommend it, since coconut oil is loaded with saturated fat: 12 grams in 1 tablespoon versus 7 grams in a tablespoon of butter.

Bottom line: The extra calorie burn produced by coconut oil might give you a slight edge, but only if you make room by eating less of something else. A tablespoon of any oil sets you back around 120 calories.

Visit EatingWell.com for free quick and easy healthy recipe collections!

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, , , , , , , , ,

By Joyce Hendley, Eating Well magazine

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17 comments

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6:19AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

To Diane W and anyone else interested in coconut meat caloric info - check out this site;
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3106/2

1:40AM PST on Feb 26, 2012

Thanks for the article.

5:19AM PST on Nov 22, 2010

Thanks for the info.

4:36PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

noted thks

2:25AM PDT on Jul 10, 2010

i like fresh coconut. thanks for sharing.

1:41AM PDT on Jul 10, 2010

I eat the fresh coconut. How many calories is it in how large a serving please?

12:06AM PDT on Jul 10, 2010

Coconut oil is good, one doctor advised ,if you take 1 tbsp of pure coconut oil on an empty stomach in the morning every day , you need not worry about constipation in your life.

6:05PM PDT on Jun 1, 2010

Thank you for the info on coconuts.

3:12AM PDT on Mar 16, 2009

Sadly our doctors learn nothing about nutrition and how the right foods is all we need with exercise to live a healthy died , why is this so, well they have a multi billion dollar drug /pharma mafia to support, so they need all the customers they can get and so many of us are tripping over each other to be their next patient.

5:51PM PDT on Mar 11, 2009

Thank you, Carol J., for clarifying the myth about coconut oil being a bad saturated fat. I was diagnosed with severe hypothyroidism 3 yrs ago and refused to go on Synthroid. Instead, I started taking 3 tbs a day of ORGANIC coconut oil and my doctor couldn't believe my thyroid function tests were normal 2 months later.....and continue to be!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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