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PureZing Living & Health > Food Articles

Coconut Oil: Nature’s Weight Loss Miracle

Bruce Fife, N.D., Publisher

Bruce Fife, ND is a certified nutritionist and naturopathic physician. He is the author 19 books including Cooking with Coconut Flour (Piccadilly Books) and Coconut Cures (Piccadilly Books) and serves as the president of the U.S. based Coconut Research Center www.coconutresearchcenter.org

“I was overweight, and resigned to it; diets just didn’t work with me. In fact, in spite of a basically healthy diet I was steadily gaining weight over the years and decades. I was also using what I considered the healthy fats — polyunsaturated oils.

After reading Bruce Fife’s books on coconut oil I switched oils completely. I diligently read labels to avoid hydrogenated vegetable oils — and was amazed at how pervasive they are. I used coconut oil for all my cooking, and even added it to my tea.

I lost 20 pounds in a matter of weeks, and what’s more important, my weight has stayed at this level for the whole year. Even at times of more indulgence, such as holidays and Christmas, I did not gain. I take coconut oil with me wherever I go and can’t live without my daily dose!”

--Sharon Maas

Have you struggled with weight-loss diets without lasting success? If so, you may find adding more fat into your diet may be the answer you’ve been looking for. To achieve success you need to choose the right type of fat. As bizarre as it may seem, the fat that can do the most for you in terms of weight loss is coconut oil. Researchers are now recommending it as a means to prevent and even treat obesity.

Once mistakenly believed to be bad for the heart because of its saturated fat content, coconut oil is now known to contain a unique form of saturated fat that actually helps prevent heart disease, stroke, and hardening of the arteries as well as provide many other health benefits.

Most all fats and oils in our diet are composed of fat molecules known as long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Coconut oil is unique. It is composed predominately of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). It’s these MCTs that give coconut oil its special weight loss and heart healthy characteristics.

One of the reasons why coconut oil is effective in reducing body fat and lowering weight is because it contains fewer calories than any other fat. For this reason, it has gained the distinction of being the world's only natural, low-calorie fat. When you use coconut oil in your food preparation, you can eat the same types of foods as you normally do yet consume fewer calories.

The fact that coconut oil contains fewer calories, however, is not the main reason it has gained a reputation as a low-calorie fat. Its advantage in weight management is due primarily to its effect on metabolism. The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil are smaller than the LCTs found in other fats and, therefore, digest very quickly, so quickly in fact, that the body uses them as a source of fuel rather than pack them away as body fat. MCTs are used to produce energy much like carbohydrates and, therefore, they do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats. For this reason, they do not end up in fat cells or contribute to weight gain.

One study evaluated three different diets—a low-fat diet, a high-fat diet containing LCT, and a high-fat diet containing MCT. Each diet contained excess calories to induce weight gain. The testing period lasted for 44 days. At the end of that time, the low-fat diet group had stored an average of 0.47 grams of fat per day, and the LCT group 0.48 grams per day, while the MCT group deposited only 0.19 grams of fat per day. The MCT group had a 60% reduction in the amount of body fat stored as compared to the other diets.1

Because MCTs are used as a source of fuel to produce energy, they have a stimulatory effect on metabolism. Studies have shown that MCTs boost metabolism, thus increasing the rate at which calories are burned. As a result, calories obtained from all the foods we eat are burned up at a higher rate, so that fewer remain to be packed away as body fat. This increase in metabolism isn’t experienced for just one or two hours after a meal. Studies show that after a single meal containing MCTs metabolism remains elevated for at least 24 hours.2 During this entire time you enjoy a higher level of energy and continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate.

Another interesting feature of coconut oil is that it helps to decrease total food and calorie consumption. Coconut oil is more satisfying than other fats. When added to meals people tend to eat less food and feel fuller longer so they don't eat as much.

For example, in one study women were given a drink that contained either MCT (from coconut oil) or LCT oil. Thirty minutes later they were offered lunch and allowed to eat as much as they wanted. The women who had the MCT oil before the meal ate less food, and as the authors of the study stated, "significantly decreased caloric intake in the lunch."3
In another study, a group of normal-weight men were fed a meal for breakfast differing only in the type of fat used. Later, food intakes at lunch and dinner were measured. Those eating breakfasts containing MCTs ate less at lunchtime. At dinner there was no difference. This study showed that when MCTs were eaten at one meal, hunger is forestalled for longer and less food is eaten at the next. Also important, was that even though subjects ate less at lunch, they did not make up for it by eating more at dinner. Total daily food intake decreased.4

Combined with a sensible diet coconut oil can be an effective aid to weight loss. For best results you should replace all the cooking oils you normally use in food preparation with coconut oil. Coconut oil makes an excellent cooking oil. Use it in all your recipes that call for margarine, shortening, butter, or vegetable oil. Try to add a little coconut oil to all your meals to stimulate metabolism and satisfy hunger. Even though fat, including coconut oil, contains more calories than either protein or carbohydrate, its effect on curbing appetite more than makes up for the extra calories it contains.

1. Crozier G. et al. 1987. Metabolic effects induced by long-term feeding of medium-chain triglyceridesd in the rat. Metabolism 36:807-814.
2. Dulloo, A.G., et al. 1996. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr. (50(3):152-8.
3. Rolls, B.J. et al. 1988. Food intake in dieters and nondieters after a liquid meal containing medium-chain triglycerides. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 48(1):66.
4. Van Wymelbeke, V., et al. 1998. Influence of medium-chain and long-chain triacylglycerols on the control of food intake in men. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 68:226-234.


To read more about Dr Fife's books click the following links:

Cooking with Coconut Flour
Coconut Cures
Coconut Lover's Cookbook

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