If you've been reading the blog for a while, you'll know that coconut oil provides a wide range of health benefits for both pets and people.
In recent months we've explained how coconut oil supports thyroid health, helps manage diabetes, and even boosts the immune system so the body can fight cancer more effectively.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg! For more information about the health benefits of coconut oil, be sure to check out our blog archives.
Despite the numerous health benefits of coconut oil, many people are worried that it can contribute to weight gain. On the surface of it, this is a reasonable assumption to make. After all, coconut oil is a saturated fat. And too much saturated fat is bad for our health, right?
In today's post we'll take a look at why coconut oil is different from many other saturated fats. We'll also explain why it has gained a reputation as an effective weight loss aid.
Coconut Oil Is Rich in Medium-Chain Triglycerides
While we tend to think of all saturated fats as bad for us, the truth is not quite so simple.
Saturated fats are classified into two main categories: long-chain fats (long-chain triglycerides), and short and medium-chain fats (short-chain and medium-chain triglycerides).
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). These are metabolized differently by the body than long-chain triglycerides.
MCTs are digested faster than long-chain triglycerides. In fact, they are digested so quickly that they go directly to the liver where they are immediately mobilized to produce energy.
By comparison, long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) go into circulation where they are easily deposited into fat cells. For a more detailed explanation of how MCTs and LCTs are metabolized by the body, check out our recent post, Coconut Oil and Heart Health.
Coconut Oil Boosts Metabolism
The MCTs in coconut oil provide a quick and easy source of energy for the body. This helps boost metabolism and aids in weight management. In his book, Coconut Therapy for Pets, Dr. Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D., explains:
"After eating coconut oil, you (and your pet) get a boost of energy. This energy lift actually stimulates metabolism, kicking metabolism up into a higher gear. This effect lasts for a full 24 hours. During this time the body's engines are burning at a higher rate, so more calories are being burned off. At the end of the day, fewer calories are available to be stored as fat. Therefore, if excess calories are not consumed (i.e. not overeating), you and your pet can experience weight loss."
Coconut oil's ability to increase energy expenditure and aid weight loss has also been backed up in recent scientific literature.
Coconut Oil Suppresses Appetite
As well as providing a ready source of energy and boosting metabolism, coconut oil can actually suppress appetite. All fats slow down the emptying of the stomach, helping you feel full for longer, but studies have shown that MCTs have a greater satiating effect than LCTs.
The feeling of being full and satisfied means that you are less likely to consume excess calories between meals. And as any dieter knows, a combination of fewer calories consumed and more calories burned leads to weight loss.
Coconut Oil is Low in Calories
Coconut oil is lower in calories than you may imagine. In fact, it contains fewer calories than many other cooking oils. Here's a comparison of the calories in 10 commonly consumed oils:
*Calories in 1 tbsp (14ml) of oil. Source: Calories.info
Almond Oil: 123 cal
Canola Oil: 124 cal
Coconut Oil: 120 cal
Corn Oil: 120 cal
Flaxseed Oil: 124 cal
Grapeseed Oil: 124 cal
Olive Oil: 120 cal
Palm Oil: 123 cal
Sunflower Oil: 124 cal
Vegetable Oil: 120 cal
Throughout this post we've demonstrated that far from causing weight gain, coconut oil can actually be an effective weight loss aid. And we think you'll agree, that's great news for pets and people!
To get the most out of coconut oil, please make sure to choose a high-quality oil such as CocoTherapy coconut oil. Our therapeutic-grade oil is 100% pure and natural, and can be shared and used by the whole family – both human and animal alike.
That's it for today. We hope you enjoyed the post and learned a thing or two about coconut oil and weight loss. Have you used coconut oil for weight management? Let us know in the comments!