Maybe you’ve been locked inside all this time and have noticed extra inches around your middle that you wish weren’t there.
Maybe you’re finally realizing it’s time to shed some extra weight and are looking for an effective strategy. You may have even tried other methods, hyped or conventional, with some or no success.
Although it’s a tough nut to crack, coconut oil can help you use weight and reduce belly fat, but, as with any weight loss component, it needs to be included in an overall, balanced weight loss scheme.
History of Coconuts
Before delving into how coconut oil can help you reduce belly fat, it’s worth knowing more about why coconut oil is so important.
Coconuts were originally domesticated in Polynesia and India, eventually being transported and grown in many other tropical climates around the world.
The coconut is a very versatile fruit in that it produces milk, meat, oil and coir, a tough fiber that can be spun into rope.
How Coconut Oil is Used
Since health and weight loss is your primary concern, its worth delving deeper into the versatility of coconut oil.
Coconut oil, as previously mentioned, as a long history of usage, but has only recently come into vogue given the relaxed attitudes towards saturated fat consumption.
Coconut oil is one of the more versatile oils in that it can be used for cooking, baking, as a nutritional supplement as well as a cosmetic.
Given it’s versatility, it’s no surprise that coconut oil has become so popular. The important question is, how does it compare to other oils regarding health benefits?
Other Oils Compared to Coconut oil
Olive oil vs. Coconut oil
While perhaps not as versatile as coconut oil in usage, olive oil has similar health benefits. Olive oil has long been touted as a healthy oil relative to its ability to prevent and minimize plaque and cholesterol build-up as compared to animal and artificial fats.
Coconut oil, although possessing considerably more saturated fats, has similar effects on heart disease, particularly when paired with fruits, vegetables and fish as found in many traditional,
Pacific native diets. In this regard, coconut oil and olive oil are very similar in their influences on one’s health.
MCT oil vs. Coconut oil
Medium Chain Triglyceride, or MCT, oil is another popular oil used similarly to coconut oil. The main difference between the two is that MCT contains 100% medium chain triglycerides whereas coconut oil usually averages around 50%.
MCT is unique in that, unlike other fatty acids, it is transported directly to the liver to be broken down into energy; other fatty acids, particularly long chain and short chain triglycerides, experience some form of decomposition during digestion that lead to fat storage or being used by bacteria in the intestines.
Because of its energy-yielding properties, MCT oil has become popular among those implementing keto diets because of its high concentration of MCT without other fats that could potentially interfere with the keto effect.
If this is what you are looking for, then MCT oil may be a more direct solution, but if you are looking for an all-around healthy oil that also tastes great, coconut oil provides a much more versatile option.
Vegetable and Canola oil vs. Coconut oil
Coconut oil definitely has advantages over other popular oils, such as canola and vegetable oils. Because coconut oil has a much higher smoke point, it is much safer to use than canola oil which has a tendency to overheat and produce unhealthy compounds.
Vegetable oil is generally safe, but if it is partially hydrogenated, as it is in margarine and other artificial oil spreads, then trans fats are produced which are particularly deleterious to cardiovascular health.
Overall, both canola oil and vegetable oil have less saturated fat than coconut oil, but they also pose their own respective problems.
Coconut Oil Health Benefits
How then does coconut offer health benefits?
While coconut oil is known for its high saturated fat content, it possesses other properties which lead it to be being a very powerful food compound.
Coconut oil has natural antimicrobial properties given its high concentration of lauric acid, which makes it helpful not only as a topical ointment in treating bacterial and fungal infections but also as a dental remedy for bad breath and gingivitis as well as in helping to restore desired intestinal microbial activity, a key component in managing weight.
Coconut oil and reducing belly fat?
Ultimately, the question remains: does coconut oil help in reducing belly fat?
As compelling as many claims have been, the jury is still officially out regarding coconut oil as a fat neutralizer.
Part of this reason is because coconut oil is very rich in calories, as are most oils, so primarily consuming coconut oil will not help to reduce calories for those who need to do so to lose weight.
Likewise, coconut oil is rich in saturated fats, which is generally shown to increase low density cholesterol that’s linked to heart disease.
At the same time, given the abundance of medium chain fatty acids found in coconut oil, there is a much greater conversion of these fatty acids immediately into energy which decreases the likelihood that calories consumed from coconut oil will be stored as fat.
This effect has been demonstrated clinically through ketogenic diets that drastically reduce carbohydrate intake and substitute these calories for calories derived from fats, which forces the liver to produce ketones as the molecule by which energy is generated.
Because of the reliance on ketones versus glucose, ketogenic diets have been shown to lead to weight loss for many practitioners.
Similarly, because there is an immediate production of energy, the body reaches satiety, or fullness, much more quickly, so you are more likely to consume less food overall.
Coconut oil has also been shown, as with other oils, to help induce satiety immediately upon consumption, so it is likely that by consuming coconut oil, you can expedite or at least facilitate weight loss.
How to Get the Most out of Coconut oil
Overall, whether you are a coconut fiend or coconut curious, there are a few key tips to ensure that you can experience weight loss from consuming coconut.
First, coconut oil is best used either as a cooking oil or mixed with other ingredients in a dish and not as a supplement given its high saturated fat content. Second, its best to consume coconut oil in moderation, as you should with any food, oils especially.
Lastly, key to weight loss is eating a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins such as fish and lean meats. This combination is the traditional diet of the Polynesians most closely associated with coconut consumption.
Given the low incidence of obesity, cardiovascular disease and dental decay, it certainly suggests that coconuts have a lot of potential!
Coconut Oil Alternative
If coconut still concerns you, or you are looking for an oil that specifically targets weight loss, olive oil would probably be the most consistently recommended oil.
Given its well-studied heart-health promoting effects, it’s low percentage of saturated fats and high percentage of mono-unsaturated fats, shown to be much more beneficial for heart health due to its ability to lower cholesterol levels as well as blood glucose.
As it is a fairly prevalent oil that can be used for cooking, baking as well as in dressing and other dishes, and it pairs well with other foods in the Mediterranean diet that has been shown to reduce heart disease as well as overall body weight.
For those looking for something more familiar or still waiting for more evidence regarding the health benefits of coconut oil, olive oil is a tried and true oil that will certainly help you reach your health goals.
There are an abundance of oils on the market that have a variety of applications and health benefits.
Some oils, such as avocado and grapeseed, are primarily found in high-end cooking due to their high smoke points. Other oils, such as vegetable and canola, are more likely to be found in commercial kitchens used with fried products.
For the everyday consumer, olive oil and coconut oil are more easily accessible, versatile and health-promoting.
Although its saturated fat composition has raised concerns over the years, continued research suggests that coconut oil not only has an ample amount of health fats but that its unique composition provides other health-promoting properties in addition to weight loss.
Given its long history as a staple in various tropical cuisines, coconut oil is a reliable addition to any well-balanced diet.
If you’re looking to lose weight or enjoy improvements from your hair to your skin, then its time to try coconut oil. Fried, dried, baked or sauteed, coconut oil is guaranteed to make you want to be healthy inside and out!
If you are curious to learn more about the research, background and application, there are a variety of other publications and articles detailing various aspects of coconut oil from recipes to treatments.
Hopefully you’ve come to appreciate the many wonders of coconut oil usage, particularly regarding promoting good health and a healthy diet that can lead to weight loss.
Whether you’re just exploring how to use coconut oil or looking for further reasons to continue to use it, there are a variety of resources and possible uses to help you achieve your goals.
Now that you’ve become a coconut nut, it’s time to get crackin’!