Coconut oil has been linked to weight loss, in varying degrees. Some swear it is the answer to losing weight easily; others are more measured and suggest it may aid weight loss when included as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. I want to talk about where this thinking has come from – is it fact or fiction?
Back in the seventies, coconut oil was regarded as a bad fat, not recommended in a healthy diet. Now it is supposed to be good for us – what’s that all about? Well our understanding of fats and vegetable fats in particular has improved over the years. The coconut oil that was tested back then was also hydrogenated coconut oil – still regarded as bad, not the virgin coconut oil we use today. It seems that virginity is important!
Good Fat Bad Fat
Modern thinking tells us that we need a certain amount of fat in our diets. Most vegetable fats used in cooking are long chain fatty acids but virgin coconut oil is a medium chain fatty acid (or triglyceride). In basic terms this means it is easier to break down in the body and does not have an adverse effect on cholesterol levels. All good so far – a healthy source of vegetable fat, great for cooking! This is where the claims about lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease come from – which is stretching the facts a little. What about weight loss?
Loosing Weight with Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil and weight loss have become linked in similarly tenuous ways. It is believed that coconut oil in your diet will stimulate the thyroid gland and so increase your metabolism. Increased metabolism should help with weight loss
– right? Well in theory, yes, but as usual with weight loss nothing is ever that simple. You can read all sorts of “facts” about loosing weight, many miracle diets and supplements guaranteed to help you loose weight. It is a huge business with many vested interests and has become a nightmare to find a glimmer of truth.
Talk to a doctor or qualified dietician, this is where you will find the truth – many products and ingredients may help you loose weight but only as part of a calorie controlled diet and preferably with a healthy exercise regime. Does that ring a bell? Adverts for weight loss products usually have it in the small print. Coconut oil may help you loose weight as part of a wider program and healthy lifestyle. Coconut oil and chocolate bars will not help!
So we have established that it is a relatively healthy vegetable fat which may increase your metabolism, so taking it will make you loose weight, right? – Wrong! It is still a fat and a very high calorie one at that. Use coconut oil as a healthy source of vegetable fat in cooking and baking. Accept it as a healthier option but don’t buy into the hype that it can make you loose weight – at least not on its own! It has a lot to offer and it tastes great but it is no miracle cure for obesity.
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