Coconut oil is a saturated fat!
Despite all the hype some saturated fats are good for us! And coconut oil appears to one of those. All fats are made up of fatty acids of different lengths and our bodies deal with these in different ways.
Coconut oil is high in medium chain fatty acids these appear to have many health benefits. These MFA’s are not stored in fat cells as with other saturated fats found within meat and dairy products so are believed to be beneficial in weight loss.
The fats in coconut are used for energy and do not enter the cholesterol cycle so are not detrimental to cholesterol levels. (1)
Research suggests that the fats in coconut oil burn slowly allowing a steady supply of energy therefore may assist with blood glucose control. This should reduce craving for sweet high fat foods! Which in itself will assist with weight loss. (2)
If you are going to add coconut oil to your diet make sure you purchase only ‘virgin’coconut oil as the active constituents remain intact. How can you increase coconut oil in your diet? Use for cooking.
It can be purchased in a deodorised form which means it does not taste of coconut, so can be used for all types of cooking stir frying, sautéing and roasting. Vegetables roasted with lots of herbs can be super healthy and very tasty!
– Add to your smoothies or shakes.
– It can be used in baking. If not deodorised it can add a light coconut flavour to any baking.
– Because it is a solid fat at room temperature it is not suitable for things like dressings. (3)
– Just adding coconut oil to your diet is not the magic bullet that will make you thin overnight. It may be a helpful addition too
– Adequate protein ( a portion with each meal and snack)
– Lots of healthy fruit and veg.(5+ portions per day)
– Heathy fats from foods like oily fish, avocado, nuts and seeds
– Hydration is really important (Approximately 1 ½ to 2 litres of non-caffeinated sugar free fluids per day)
– Portion control, even healthy foods eaten in excess will increase weight!
Research on coconut oil in weight loss is not extensive and benefits may be of limited, but there appear to be lots of benefits to adding this in your diet. It is suggested 1 table spoon per day (3), high amounts can cause digestive issues and in those who are sensitive even smaller amounts may be difficult to tolerate. Coconut water also has great benefits to health, read on to learn more.
Liau et al. (2011) An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN pharmacology www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov
Ross, J. (2012) The Diet Cure Penguin www.penguin.com
Linkie (2008) Super Foods for a super Healthy You – Unleash the secret healing powers of Natire’s ultimate foods. Agora Lifestyles Ltd