Claims about using coconut oil for weight loss are making their rounds once again through social media – or perhaps they never stopped. Though there was a sip in the trend after a Harvard scientist discounted many of the health claims made about this natural ingredient, it appears to have rebuilt itself and is going strong once again.
Let’s take a closer look at the idea of using coconut oil for weight loss and what science has to say about it.
At the very basic level of the claims regarding coconut oil for weight loss are medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils. Coconut oil contains a number of different types of fats but is a good source of MCTs. The majority of the claims linking the oil with body fat reduction have to do with MCTs instead of coconut oil itself.
The MCTs found in coconut oil may indeed help to support weight loss and body fat management. However, the idea of using coconut oil for weight loss remains highly controversial.
Many people feel that by eating coconut oil as a part of their regular diet, they will improve their weight loss results. However, as mentioned earlier, the science behind such claims is based on MCT and MCT oil studies. They make the leap that coconut oil for weight loss is the same as using MCT oil, despite the fact that it is not the same thing.
Although Coconut oil is considered to be a good natural source of MCTs, it still contains only small quantities of them, such as caprylic acid and capric acid. That said, about half of coconut oil’s fat content is lauric acid. Here is another area of controversy.
While some would label lauric acid as an MCT, others feel that it is actually closer to a long chain triglyceride (LCT) or that it falls somewhere between MCTs and LCTs but is neither. There are 12 carbon atoms in lauric acid, while MCT oil usually has only 6 to 10 carbon atoms.
If you can use coconut oil for weight loss, it would be because of the MCTs present. Research shows that they help to boost the metabolism and raise satiety from food. That said, it is unlikely that adding a bit of the oil to your daily diet will make enough of a difference on its own that you will see it on the bathroom scale.