You may have asked yourself if you should jump on the coconut oil bandwagon.
Well, coconut oil is definitely popular, but you may have asked yourself a few questions, like. Is coconut oil healthy? If so, how much is enough? What type should I use?
But what exactly is it about coconut oil that people are going crazy for?
Before making the decision to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon, let’s go over a few different things.
Coconut Oil and MCTs.
Before we begin remember coconut oil is a fat and it still contains the same 9 calories per gram as other fats. So, it is still calorie dense & it’s Not a freebie.
It is processed by extracting the oil from the “meat” of the coconut. At room temperature, it’s a white solid, but it does melt easily! During the hotter months, you may find it stays in a softened or in its liquid form, even with the air conditioning on.
So, what are MCT’s and what do they do?
Coconut oil contains a unique type of fat known as “Medium Chain Triglycerides” (MCTs). In fact, more than 50% of the fat in coconut oil are MCTs.
MCTs are unique because your body metabolizes them differently. They have a shorter chain so they break down quickly & are absorbed by the body. These MCTs go straight from the gut to the liver. This metabolic process, unique to MCTs, is what sets coconut oil apart from other fats
The idea of adding coconut oil to your diet is NOT to add on to what you already eat but to substitute it for some of the (possibly) less healthy fats you may be eating now.
MCTs & Fat Loss
You may be wanting to hop on the coconut oil bandwagon because you’ve heard it’s a weight loss miracle, but hold your horses.
While there is Never a weight loss miracle, MCTs have a few different fat loss benefits.
First, it may help to increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to a natural reduction in the amount of food you eat. Having said that, it has been shown to stimulate the release of hunger hormones in some people. So, pay attention to how it makes you feel.
Second, because of their unique metabolic route, MCTs may also increase the number of calories you burn. Coconut oil is thought to be a “thermogenic” food, which means consuming it tends to increase your energy expenditure. In fact, a few studies show replacing other oils with coconut oil may increase the number of calories you burn by as much as 5%.
Third, one study shows, compared to soybean oil, coconut oil caused a decrease in belly fat (waist circumference). Plus, one 4-week study in obese men showed about 1.1” reduction in their waist circumference
While coconut oil studies show a similar weight loss to other oils, it looks optimistic that it may help with the dangerous visceral fat. Just remember, you don’t want to add coconut oil to your diet without reducing other fats and oils!
How Much Coconut Oil?
So, if you’re going to hop on the coconut oil bandwagon, you may be wondering how much is enough or even too much. Many of the studies show positive outcomes like increased fullness, increased metabolism, and reduced belly fat when the participants only ate about 2 tablespoons per day.
You probably don’t need any more than that, so don’t think eating it by the cup-fulls will be more beneficial. (Don’t fall prey to the thought “A little is good, so more must be better.”)
What Kind of Coconut Oil Do I Use?
There are so many coconut oil options available in grocery stores these days, and it can be difficult to know which is best.
I recommend you stay away from “refined” coconut oil, and opt for “virgin” cold pressed.
The virgin coconut oil is processed at lower temperatures and avoids some of the chemical solvents used to produce the refined version. The cold process helps preserve more of the oil’s natural health-promoting antioxidants. However, virgin (cold-processed) coconut oil does have a mild coconut taste. So, if you’re turned off by coconut in the slightest, you probably won’t like it. Another thing is the type of processing can affect the taste. (If you’re wondering about a specific brand highly recommend Spectrum organic virgin coconut oil)
HEALTH TIP: Always (and I mean ALWAYS) avoid “hydrogenated” coconut oil. It can be a health nightmare because it contains the infamous “trans fats.”
Another thing you should also consider when purchasing coconut oil is the “smoke point”. For virgin coconut oil, 350F is what you should cook at or below. This temperature would be low-medium to medium setting on most stovetops, and of course 350F in the oven.
Before hopping on the coconut oil bandwagon, there are some things to consider. I do think you should always have a variety of healthy fats in your diet (including olive oil, avocados, nuts seeds, etc), but you may consider substituting some of the fat you eat with virgin coconut oil.
While it may not be a weight loss miracle, switching out coconut oil for some of the unhealthy fats you’re eating may help you lose weight and belly fat by naturally helping you to eat less, as well as slightly increasing your metabolism.
If you’ve never tried it, you’re in for a great surprise (especially on roasted veggies!), and it makes great healthy chocolate clusters (recipe below the video)!
If you want to discover other healthy oils, their smoke points & how I use them, watch the video below…
Healthy Chocolate Clusters
- ⅓ cup coconut oil melted
- 1 cup cocoa/cacao powder
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 dashes salt
- 4 tablespoons slivered almonds
Melt coconut oil, and whisk in maple syrup, salt, and cocoa/cacao powder until smooth.
Stir in slivered almonds until evenly distributed.
Pour into an ice cube tray and freeze. (or drop a spoonful onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper & freeze)
Store in fridge or freezer to avoid melting.
Substitute other seeds or chopped nuts instead of almonds