Healthy Living

Coconut Oil For Weight Loss: Does It Work?

A misconception about coconut oil is that it is an effective ingredient in inducing weight loss. Several studies have investigated the truth behind this assumption without much fruition. While some studies have mixed results, others are unclear. The majority of research, however, are short-term and lean toward coconut oil making little or no difference to weight loss, body mass index or waist size. 

According to Mayo Clinic, most of the studies have examined coconut oil consumption along with a low-calorie diet and exercise routine. There is no study to directly say that adding coconut oil to the regular diet aids weight loss. 

Saturated Fat Content Is High In Coconut Oil

The coconut oil is extracted from the fruit grown on coconut palm trees, almost 80 to 90 percent of which is made up of saturated fat. In fact, the fat content is one of the reasons that coconut oil cannot be considered a weight loss ingredient. One tablespoon has 11 grams of fat and 120 calories. Therefore, adding coconut oil to the diet would not help without taking precautions to remain at a healthy weight.  

As per many studies, another important factor to consider is that oil with unsaturated fats, examples are olive, canola and sunflower oil, help reduce markers of obesity. Saturated fats have the opposite effect. 

The oil also contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which makes up 50 percent of the fat content, hence the media often quotes MCT studies to elucidate the positive effect of coconut oil. But this association has been the subject of much controversy and scientists have clarified that MCT oil and coconut oil benefits are not one and the same. 

Coconut Oil Does Not Impact Total Cholesterol

A study published in 2017 by Chiang Mai University in Thailand assessed 35 volunteers aged between 18 to 25 who were separated into two groups. The first one received 15 ml of virgin coconut oil, while the second group took placebos twice a day for eight weeks. After which, both groups had to take a break from the ingredient for the next eight weeks to flush it out of the system. Once the period ended, the groups along with ingredients were interchanged.  

In succession, every eight weeks after taking the virgin coconut oil, plasma lipoprotein levels were checked and compared to the baseline measurement. The result was positive. The group on virgin coconut oil had increased good cholesterol by 5.72 mg/dL in comparison to the placebo group. There was a slight catch though. 

“However, there was no difference in the change in total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglyceride levels between the two regimens. Mild diarrhea was reported by some volunteers when taking VCO, but no serious adverse events were reported," the researchers stated in the result. 

coconut oil A number of studies have been conducted to explore the health benefits of coconut oil. Pixabay

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