The few small studies that have looked at coconut oil and weight loss suggest that coconut oil may help reduce waist size, but it doesn't lead to significant weight loss or improved body mass index (BMI).
Coconut oil is a tropical oil that's made from the dried fruit (nut) of the coconut palm tree. Proponents say that it contains a healthy type of fatty acid that your body quickly burns for energy. The oil extracted from fresh coconut contains medium chain fatty acids, which aren't stored in adipose tissue.
However, coconut oil is high in calories and saturated fat. One tablespoon contains 117 calories and 13.6 grams of fat. Coconut oil has more saturated fat than lard does.
Although eating coconut oil in moderation isn't likely to harm your health, it's not likely to help you lose weight either. For successful, long-term weight loss, stick to the basics — an overall healthy-eating plan and exercise.
Aug. 14, 2012
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- Coconut oil. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. http://www.naturaldatabase.com. Accessed June 7, 2012.
- Duyff RL. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2012:99.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 24. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. http://ndb.nal.usda.gov. Accessed June 7, 2012.
- Liau KM, et al. An open-label pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of virgin coconut oil in reducing visceral adiposity. ISRN Pharmacology. 2011;2011:1.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 7, 2012.