There has been a lot of discussion in the media in recent years about coconut oil, specifically the role it may play in weight loss. Many people wonder how consuming a food that is made entirely of fat can help you lose weight, as this seems to be counter-intuitive. In the following paragraphs I will talk about how coconut oil is used in the body, and how it is a useful tool when you are trying to drop a few pounds.
Coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids. In fact, it is 2/3 of its calories come from these essential fatty acids. So what is so special about these medium chain fatty acids?
Fat Loss Benefits
- They are easily digested
- They work to regulates thyroid function
- They boost metabolism
- They easily convert to energy in the body
- They are rarely stored as body fat
Most saturated fats are long chain fatty acids, and are difficult to digest, and readily stored as fat. Medium chain fatty acids are saturated fats, but their structure makes them much more health friendly. These properties are what make coconut oil so helpful for those trying to lose weight.
How to Use Coconut Oil
Daily consumption of coconut oil is recommended for best results. Some people enjoy a tablespoon of it in their coffee. It can also be used to cook in, added to a protein shake, or stirred into warm oatmeal. A lot of people simply use it in place of butter, margarine, or other oils. It has a mild coconut flavor and creamy texture that most people find pleasing. Research strongly suggests that adding coconut oil to your diet will lead to increased energy, create feelings of satiety, and reduce food cravings.
The amount you should consume each day will be determined by your weight. The following chart details optimal consumption based on body weight.
- Body weight of 100-125 pounds: 2 1/2 tablespoons per day
- Body weight of 125-150 pounds: 3 tablespoons per day
- Body weight of 150-175 pounds: 3 1/2 tablespoons per day
- Body weight of 175 pounds or more: 4 tablespoons per day
There are quite a few benefits of coconut oil worth mentioning. One compound that comes with a host of health benefits is lauric acid, a component of human breast milk. Lauric acid has:
- Anti-microbial properties
- Anti-bacterial properties
- Anti-fungal properties
- Anti-parasitic properties
Virgin coconut oil is 50% lauric acid, so you get a healthy dose of this powerful nutrient every time you consume it. In addition to the above mentioned weight loss benefits, coconut oil is also great for improving immune function, balancing the oils in skin and hair, and providing consistent energy throughout the day. If you have not tried coconut oil yet, you will be pleasantly surprised at how versatile it is in the kitchen. I like to cook steak and eggs in it, as it imparts a nice coconut flavor and keeps them from sticking to the pan.