People have been using coconut oil for thousands of years because of its nutritional benefits. It contains many nutrients that help maintain health and a good diet. Coconut oil also improves metabolism, cognitive function, hair, and skin through fatty acids. With the increasing popularity of plant-based food choices, coconut oil has become popular. Its rich flavour and nutritional benefits make it one of the healthiest additions to your regular diet.
Besides keeping the skin and hair healthy, coconut oil helps in reducing body fat. The increased shift toward a western diet which includes unhealthy foods, fast foods, and processed food products, leads to increased obesity and poor health. However, research has found that coconut helps in fat loss, especially in the abdominal region. These research findings have made coconut oil a superfood used for reducing body fat and weight loss.
Coconut Oil: Brief History
Since ancient times, people have used coconut oil for its edible and healing properties. They draw out from coconut trees or palms in tropical and subtropical regions. It is traditionally made by crushing and pressing copra to extract the oil in West Africa. Its use is evident in many South America, Central America and the Indian continent, including Mele, Micro and Polynesia. In India, coconut bearing tree refers to as Kalpavriksha. Every part of the tree is helpful in some way. According to Ayurvedic medicine, Thisoil is essential for the body and mind. Coconut is a drupe with three layers, exocarp, husk of the fruit- mesocarp, and fruit- endocarp. Its fruit, coconut flesh, milk, water, and oil have intrinsic commercial value.
People use coconut oil for medicinal purposes such as treating hair loss, burns and heart diseases. They have also been used since ancient times to treat intestinal worms.
Nutritional Value of Coconut Oil
The nutritional value of coconut oil as per 100g :
- Energy: 892 kcal
- Total Lipid: 99.1 g
- Fatty acids (Saturated): 82.5 g
- Total Monounsaturated fatty acids: 6.33 g
- Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids: 1.7 g
- Calcium: 1 mg
- Alpha Tocotrienol: 2.17 mg
Is Coconut Oil a Healthy Fat?
Coconut oil is derived from coconut and contains 60-70% fatty acids, 4-10% water, protein, and carbohydrates. It is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which have beneficial effects on metabolism. MCFAs increase up to 85% when the oil draws out from fresh coconut meat. Medium-chain triglycerides present in this oil contain 10-12 carbon atoms. It has the highest source of lauric acid. Main coconut oil includes medium-chain fatty acids such as caprylic acid and capric acid. These lipids are readily metabolised and do not require adipose tissue-like long-chain fatty acids storage.
MCFAs have medium-chain instead of short- and long-chain fatty acids. They are transported directly from the digestive tract to the liver. Once they reach the liver, the energy sources begin the process of metabolism in ketone bodies. This oil metabolises energy and thus stores less fat. The MCFA present in coconut oil makes it different from other oils. Therefore coconut oil is an alternative treatment for many medical conditions. Coconut oil exhibits anti blennorrhagica, Antibronchitis, febrifugal, and antigingivitic properties. It contains zero cholesterol, fibre, vitamins, minerals, plant sterols and 80-90% saturated fat.
Coconut oil has a similar structure to sterols that mimic blood cholesterol. Also, plant sterols block the absorption of cholesterol in the body by mimicking the effect of blood cholesterol. Therefore, it improves the HDL: LDL ratio, which is beneficial for cardiovascular health.
Does Coconut Oil Reduce Body Fat?
Nowadays, people are using coconut oil as supplements for health benefits. Even though 90% of fat present in this oil is saturated fat and 9% unsaturated fat. But the structure of this oil is unique because of a rich amount of medium-chain glycerides. As a result, MCTs burn more calories which are efficient in losing weight.
MCTs are absorbed faster in the bloodstream and more efficiently than long-chain triglycerides. The faster absorption of MCTs stimulates a thermogenic effect in the body, increasing the amount of fat-burning. In addition, medium-chain fatty acids are more soluble than long-chain fatty acids and solubilised intestinal contents without micelles. Therefore, it results in faster absorption of fatty acids.
Coconut Oil: The Benefits
Some studies conclude that virgin coconut oil treats metabolic dysfunction, improves glucose tolerance, and promotes weight loss. Also, studies show long-term consumption of medium triglycerides among overweight women burned more calories than long-chain triglycerides consumption.
Metabolism of medium-chain fatty acids helps boost metabolism and increase energy. Increasing metabolism boosts the ability to burn fat. Some studies suggest that an increased dietary supply of medium-chain fatty acids during early age prevents excessive fat accumulation in adulthood.
Study shows that women who consumed around two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks didn’t gain more weight and indicated lower amounts of abdominal fat. Because of its protective property, coconut aids in digestion and boosts the immune system.
Studies show that coconut oil can reduce lipid levels in the blood, which is effective for cardiovascular health and weight loss. In addition, consuming This oil increases satiety because of its high saturated fat content. However, a 2018 study shows that eating coconut oil lowers the appetite and reduces the overall food intake.
This study aimed to determine which fatty acids are good for losing weight; MCTs or olive oil (long-chain fatty acids). They asked participants to eat 1800 kcal and 1500 kcal for men and women. The participants who ate MCT oil showed a more significant body weight loss than those who consumed long-chain fatty acids. Though both groups show reduced total body fat percentage and abdominal body fat, MCT results were more noticeable. In addition, they noticed that supplementation of MCTs improves fat oxidation.
In a study where participants were 24-51 years old, healthy obese individuals consumed 30 ml of virgin coconut oil thrice half an hour before every meal. It was a 6-week cycle to determine if it would reduce abdominal fat. The results showed a significant reduction in abdominal fat, especially in the male participants. It also reported a decline in individuals’ body fat percentage and BMI. The result of reducing belly fat is due to a decrease in the visceral fat present in the body. Decreased body fat percentage also helped improve lipid levels by lowering cholesterol and LDL levels.
The same research revealed a massive drop in body mass index and reduced waist size in the coconut oil group. In addition, it shows that this reduces elevated cholesterol levels and promotes body fat reduction in the abdominal area.
It helps to reduce excess calorie intake a day which is essential for weight loss. But it is advisable not to eat an excessive amount of coconut oil as it will spike cholesterol levels and defeats the purpose of weight loss. There are pieces of evidence that a diet rich in fat reduces the cravings for food rich in carbohydrates compared to low-fat diets.
People tend to follow low-calorie diets to shed extra weight. Though it sheds the extra pounds, it results in low energy levels, lethargy, and loss of muscles in individuals. Coconut oil boosts energy because of its high medium-chain fatty acid content. MCTs are directly transported to the liver and converted to ketones.
Ketones and ketone bodies are efficient energy sources that enhance energy reserve. They help improve workout performance and endurance, which results in weight loss. Studies suggest that intake of coconut oil provide performance-enhancing effects during training and workout regimen.
Numerous research on MCTs and body composition were analysed and published by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Journal. In addition, various studies and trials determined the effect of MCTs on body composition. They found that MCTs improve body composition by decreasing weight, circumference, and total body fat percentage.
A study conducted on 40 women aged 20-40 years shows the effect of a low-calorie diet and moderate exercise. There were two groups, and they were given two tablespoons of soybean and coconut oil daily for 12 weeks, respectively. They ask them to follow a low-calorie diet of 1000-1200 kcal with a 50-minute walk. The data showed an increase in HDL level in coconut oil and a decrease in HDL level in the soybean oil group. In addition, the study reported that individuals consuming coconut oil show a significant reduction in LDL cholesterol, while in the soybean oil group, the LDL levels increased.
With the increase in plant-based diet to reduce body fat, coconut oil is considered one of the healthiest choices. Because of the high amount of medium-chain fatty acids are used in a low-calorie diet to reduce body fat. In addition, This oil helps reduce overall cholesterol levels and increase HDL levels. There are pieces of evidence to prove that supplementation with it makes you lose weight. However, an increased intake of coconut oil can cause various health conditions, so you should take coconut oil in moderation. Current studies of coconut oil demonstrate only pure medium-chain fatty acids, not other benefits. The magnitude of this effect is not astounding, so further research is needed to prove the weight-reducing effects of coconut oil.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Does coconut oil reduce body fat?
A. Yes, coconut oil helps to reduce body fat. This oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, stimulating body fat loss, especially abdominal fat. It stimulates the body’s metabolism and suppresses appetite in individuals. It helps curb the constant food cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods by initiating satiety.
Q. How fast will coconut oil burn belly fat?
A. A study suggests a significant decrease in body mass index and waist size after 12 weeks of eating two tablespoons of coconut oil with a low-calorie diet. In addition, there is evidence of reduced abdominal fat and decreased overall cholesterol levels. It happened due to a high amount of medium-chain fatty acids.
Q. How can I reduce my stomach fat?
A. There are various points to note to reduce stomach fat. Eating a high protein and high fibre diet and regular exercise helps in reducing stomach fat. Vigorous exercise helps trim extra body fat, including subcutaneous and visceral body fat. Avoiding sugary drinks, processed foods, and refined carbohydrates and accepting a healthy, well-balanced diet reduces stomach fat.
Q. Which oil can reduce belly fat?
A. Coconut oil is the best bet to reduce belly fat. Since there are shreds of evidence that show that coconut oil boosts fat loss, it reduces belly fat. It happens due to MCTs in coconut oil which stimulates metabolism and suppresses appetite by inducing satiety.
Q. Can you melt body fat?
A. One should note that it is physiologically and biologically impossible to melt body fat. Also, fat cannot pass through the dermal layers of the skin. But if you eat a low-calorie diet along with aerobic exercise results in body fat reduction, especially abdominal region. Proper workout training and low-calorie diet help to reduce both visceral and subcutaneous fat in the body.
Q. What happens if you put coconut oil on your belly button?
A. Applying coconut oil regularly to the belly button reduces bloating. In addition, it improves fertility in women because the presence of medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil results in belly fat reduction. In addition, oiling the belly button purifies the blood and removes blemishes and dark spots.
Q. Is it good to take a spoon of coconut oil?
A. Yes, taking one tablespoon, i.e., 14 g of coconut oil, helps speed up the body’s metabolism. Coconut oil improves immune response and appetite suppression and curbs the constant food cravings. In addition, it helps reduce overall blood cholesterol levels with an increase in HDL cholesterol.
Q. When should I take coconut oil for weight loss?
A. Consuming coconut oil at night stimulates digestion and boosts metabolism. That helps burn fat while sleeping, which indirectly helps in weight loss. In contrast, consuming coconut oil with hot water or tea in the morning assists in weight loss. You can also take coconut oil before meals for better effect. However, it would help if you implemented dietary modifications through low-calorie consumption for it to work. Also, please speak to a nutritionist to understand how much of it is good for you.
Q. How can I burn fat naturally?
A. Studies show that getting regular aerobic exercise helps you burn fat faster. Cardio workouts such as running, cycling, swimming, and brisk walking help reduce waist size and increase muscle mass to burn fat rapidly. Exercise along with a protein and fibre-rich diet help in the burning of fat. You can do 150-300 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week to help lose body fat and gain muscles.
Q. How can I lose weight in 7 days at home?
A. There are no such ways to lose weight in 7 days. But a proper meal plan with high protein and fibre and a consistent exercise regimen can help you lose weight rapidly. The workout regimen can include cardio and aerobics exercises and can be beneficial for rapid weight loss. It is essential to follow the dietary interventions and workout regimen daily to shed weight. In addition, it is necessary to note the restriction of processed foods and the high sugar and salt content.