Can Coconut Oil help with Weight Loss?
Weight loss is so much more than just what diet you are trying or the latest trend in eating. Weight loss is tied in with our hormone production, our stress levels, our digestion as well as our overall lifestyle choices. However, when it comes to weight loss the one thing we need to include in whatever weight loss program we are using is fats, otherwise we run the risk of becoming malnourished and seriously stressed. Coconut oil is the one “superfood” that can help with all those factors including weight loss.
The more I read and hear about weight loss and the diets that are constantly in our faces day in and day out, the more I understand one thing.
We don’t have the control over our weight as much as we think we do.
However what we do have control over we often don’t want to deal with. We do have control over the following:
- Calorie consumption
- Behaviour and attitude
- Satiety and hunger
- Cravings and Nutrition
If we work with these factors, chances are we can often correct those that we don’t have control over and be well on our way to that weight loss goal.
So how does coconut oil help with weight loss?
1. Calorie Consumption, Metabolism and Energy:
Question: Are you in need of an oil change?
Are you putting a highly functional fuel like coconut oil into your bodies or are you chugging along on an inferior seed or vegetable oil. How our metabolism burns, whether it’s fast or slow will hold some of the keys for whether we can lose weight easily or not. Coconut oil contains MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids) that unlike LCFAs (long chain fatty acids) are smaller and bypass the digestion process and therefore convert to fuel in the liver rather than fat deposits (LCFAs) that are stored, usually around our hips, waist and stomach.
MCFAs shift the body’s metabolism into another gear resulting in more calories being burnt off. Coconut oil is the only dietary fat that can help promote weight loss. That’s why it’s often referred to as the “no calorie fat”. So long as you are not eating excess calories, the MCFAs which are absorbed quickly, increase metabolic activity and can even burn off LCFAs. This is often referred to as the Thermogenic effect. In comparison of fat for fat, MCFAs vs LCFAs, MCFAs comes out trumps. A study on thermogenic effects of a high calorie diet containing 40% of MCFAs was compared to one containing 40% fat as LCFAs. The MCFAs diet came out on top with a total thermogenic effect twice as high as the LCFAs. 120 calories burnt compared to 66 calories for the LCFAs.(1)
2. Eating Behaviours and Attitudes, Cravings and Nutrition:
Interesting thought: Malnutrition could be the reason for being overweight.
Many of our eating behaviours and attitudes towards foods is affected by our thoughts and habits, however some can also be affected by the nutritional state of our bodies. Believe it or not a large percentage of the population are actually malnourished, mainly because they are following an eating plan or diet that supplies no adequate fat content. The Low Fat Diet era has come and almost gone as we see a shift in dietary guidelines to now include a larger % of healthy fats into the standard diet. However a mindset that has been around for so long takes awhile to actually shift and appear on the dinner table. When fats are left out of a daily eating plan our bodies become vitamin and mineral deficient. Many vitamins and minerals are absorbed by fats. When our bodies are malnourished they crave the nutrients they are missing, however our brain will often interpret those cravings for sweets, baked goods, bread, pasta or other carbohydrates that will fix the problem quickly but still not provide the adequate nutrition. Craving sugar is often a sign of mineral deficiency. Coconut oil added to any diet has the ability to access and help absorb all the nutrients a diet can offer and ensure the body is properly nourished. Because it is so easily absorbed, coconut oil increases the absorption of calcium and magnesium, B vitamins as well as the fat-soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K and beta-carotene).
3. Satiety and Hunger:
Question: Are you hungry or just have a desire to eat?
The 2 keys that trigger our bodies need for food is usually either hunger or appetite. Hunger is our physical need for nourishment and appetite is our desire for food and eating. Hunger pangs are what usually tells us that we need nourishment however appetite comes when we walk down the street past the bakery with freshly baked pastries and other sublime smells (pastries were one of my food passions before going Gluten Free) pouring our way and registers a sensation in our brains that is often very hard to resist, however it doesn’t mean we are hungry. Appetite increases our waistline, hunger doesn’t.
Addressing appetite is a fairly messy business. You have to be serious about facing your habits, beliefs, patterns of shopping and eating and more. Something that can help is treating our satiety levels. Often low fat diets or any other eating plan can leave us feeling empty, even when we have just eaten! Satiety is the feeling that you have eaten well and you have a comfortable feeling and satisfaction of having enough. This isn’t just about quantity. Many foods fill us up but 1/2 hour later we are left with this empty or unsatisfied sensation. A diet lacking in fats is often a diet lacking in satiety. Satiety is an essential ingredient for successful weight loss. Diets that exclude fat but focus on foods that have a lighter calorie load are really just setting up to fail for 2 reasons. 1) Low calorie foods do not fill you up and give you a feeling of fullness and 2) they leave you feeling stressed and frustrated because while cucumbers and carrots are good for you they won’t give you satisfaction and nourishment that a steak will. Steak will break down at a slower rate which will leave you feeling fuller for longer and therefore there is no need for that snack in between meals. A study conducted on a group of women involving low fat and high fat yogurt demonstrated that the women who chose the full fat yogurt as the mid morning snack at less at their lunchtime meal. They also ate less than their low fat participants for dinner, making their overall calorie count for the day lower even though they ate the full fat yogurt. (2)
When it comes to satiety Coconut oil is at the top of the list. Another female study where women were given a drink which contained coconut oil or vegetable oil. They were then offered lunch 1/2 hour later where they could choose and east as much as they wanted. The women who had drunk the coconut oil drink before the meal ate less food. (3) Coconut oil provides great digestion of foods and slows the release down so that leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
4. Hydration and Exercise:
Question: How can coconut oil help with hydration and exercise?
Hydration and exercise are an essential requirement for not just weight loss but for good health. A staggering amount of the population are dehydrated and sometimes it’s not because they don’t drink enough but often it’s because of what they are drinking and eating. A poor diet unfortunately contributes to dehydration for 2 reasons. It messes with many neurological signals and can often make it hard to recognise whether we are hungry or thirsty and many snack and pleasure foods are diuretic or demand additional water for metabolism. Most of our thirst needs come in between meals, but often we misread that signal for hunger. If we eat more satiating foods by including coconut oil in our diets, then the message for thirst should be more loud and clear than if we continue to feed ourselves a diet of low fat and less nourishing foods.
Exercise is another given for a successful weight loss plan. Amazingly enough so many diets do not encourage or mention exercise. Exercise needs to be something you do because it’s enjoyable. An exercise activity performed over a long term period on a regular basis is much more beneficial than a routine that goes from gyming it every night for 4 months, going on holiday for 4 weeks and not returning to the gym until you are in the mood again. Exercise, even as simple as walking, increases your long term weight goal far more than sudden bursts in the gym whenever the mood takes you. Find something that you enjoy and just do it 3-4 times a week.
Coconut oil benefits any exercise routine because of it’s ability to raise your metabolic rate. Whether you take it before or after a workout, the MCFAs will provide a long slow energy burst while sustaining your blood sugar. Most foods that are marketed today for the workout and bodybuilding enthusiasts include protein shakes and high energy food bars, many of which contain sugar as well as other carbohydrates that give you a quick energy rush but often leave you crashing an hour later and feeling fatigued and listless. Coconut oil can act like a carbohydrate with it’s burning ability but unlike those energy foods, it lasts for longer without any of the blood sugar crashing. Recovery drinks are also high on the marketing scales selling the nutritional value of a so called health drink to help recover from a heavy workout. Again they are often filled with a zillion ingredients which are usually both high in sugar and low in nutrients, making them exactly the opposite to a recovery drink. Instead mix up a smoothie, leave out the protein powder, add in some coconut oil and drink that as your recovery drink. Your body will thank you.
Here’s 5 things to remember from this article:
Coconut oil helps with weight loss because it –
1. Boosts your metabolism and converts into energy through the liver so it can burn calories including LCFAs.
2. Helps with malnourishment as it excels at absorbing those much needed nutrients, vitamins and minerals that help with cravings and constant food binges.
3. Helps with satiety levels by slowing down the digestion process and providing us with feeling full for longer. No more constant snacking.
4. Because it helps with absorption and satiety then often the signals for thirst are more clear, helping us to drink more water.
5. Regulates our blood sugars and helps to sustain our energy during periods of exercise and workouts.
How do you use Coconut oil? Do you have any weight loss tips? Leave me a comment or share the social love.