Can coconut oil aid in weight loss?

Can coconut oil aid in weight loss?

It seems like more and more food and beauty products have been touting some natural oil or extract as a key ingredient. That is certainly true of coconut oil, which is used as a substitute for other fatty oils in cooking and baking and in many capacities as a health and beauty product. And while virgin coconut oil is currently trending as a quick fix for a number of health and beauty ailments, the debate over its benefits continues.

Coconut oil is derived from the fruit of coconut-bearing palm trees. The nuts, once dried, are then pressed for oil. Coconut oil is very high in calories and saturated fat (there are 117 calories and 13.6 grams of fat in just a single teaspoon), which may negate the presence of healthy fatty acids (triglycerides). Lard, in comparison, has less saturated fat than coconut oil.

As a substitute for other oils or butter in cooking and baking, coconut oil probably won't yield sustained weight-loss benefits. In fact, studies have not demonstrated that coconut oil leads to significant long-term weight loss or reduction in body mass index (BMI). If you are serious about losing weight, skip the fad diets that include coconut oil and instead concentrate on simply making healthy lifestyle changes, eating a nutritiously balanced diet and committing to a regular exercise routine.

Some believe that coconut oil can boost both energy and the immune system and reduce risk factors for heart disease, Crohn's disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s disease and thyroid conditions. To date, the majority of research studies have been inconclusive regarding coconut oil's ability to reduce risk for any of the aforementioned diseases or conditions over the long term. Furthermore, many health experts continue to agree that both olive and soybean oil have more health benefits than coconut oil.

It is likely that the health and wellness benefits of coconut oil may be more superficial in nature. As a moisturizer, it deeply penetrates the skin and can promote the healing of underlying tissue. Since coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, it has also been touted as an anti-aging serum. It's got plenty of vitamin E, which can help the skin recover from cuts, burns and scars, and it can also help exfoliate the skin. As a natural sunscreen, coconut oil can block up to 20 percent of the sun's harmful UV rays (though it is certainly not a replacement for your usual SPF). It can also be used as natural conditioner for your hair.  

If you are considering adding coconut oil to your diet as a weight loss aid or to reduce risks associated with the diseases and conditions listed above, it is always a good idea to consult with your physician first.

Posted: 4/14/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: and, Coconut, cooking, fat, heart, loss, natural, oil, oils, vascular, weight

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