Why Eating (the right) Fat Will Make You Thin
Coconut oil for weight loss? Most people would say that’s crazy. After all, coconut oil is a highly saturated form of fat—even moreso than butter! On the other hand, when it comes to losing weight, most people have a distorted view of what's healthy.
The Saturated Fat Myth
First, let’s address the issue of fat in general, and specifically saturated fat. Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol have been demonized by the media for decades now, because of something called the lipid hypothesis. Basically, the lipid hypothesis is the idea that eating too much butter and bacon will give you a heart attack.
Well, recent research has gone a long way in disproving the lipid hypothesis. Much of the damage that we used to attribute to saturated fat actually came from trans fat (which everybody agrees on: it’s bad for you). I'm no doctor, so don't take this as medical advice, but I will say this: saturated fat actually is not the artery-clogging killer we’ve been told.
Benefits of Saturated Fat
Coconut is like 95% saturated fat. What does that mean? Well, for one thing, it’s more stable than most other forms of fat. Saturated means that it doesn’t have any open bonds; its chemical structure is less likely to be mutated by heat (which can produce free radicals). For this reason, coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils for cooking, because it can withstand high temperatures and still maintain its shape. This is one reason coconut oil is better for your body than other oils—namely, vegetable oils (including, among others, canola, safflower, and sunflower oils). Vegetable oils are marketed as a health food, but the truth is, they’re high in omega-six fatty acids (the pro-inflammatory kind), and they’re more susceptible to mutating into free radicals from high cooking temperatures.
So coconut oil is healthy, but what about coconut oil for weight loss? Coconut oil is very high in MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, as opposed to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Without getting too scientific, medium-chain triglycerides are easier to digest, more likely to be used for energy, and less likely to be stored as fat than long-chain triglycerides. MCTs promote thermogenesis, or an increase in metabolism. This is the reason it’s linked to weight loss.
Stable Blood Sugar
Keep in mind that while your body uses MCTs as an energy source, it does so without raising your blood sugar. This can help you to get some of the benefits of a lower-carbohydrate diet, without some of the risks. Keeping your blood sugar levels stable will help avoid the energy crashes associated with too much sugar intake, and will help you to stick to your diet by avoid that famished feeling that comes with low blood sugar.
One last reason why coconut oil can help lose weight: it’s delicious! Cooking some hashbrowns in coconut oil as opposed to vegetable oil makes a better tasting meal. This is an underestimated aspect of weight loss. Nobody can stick to the broccoli and cabbage diet, because it doesn’t taste very good. But if you can enjoy delicious coconut oil recipes and still stick to your diet, your chances of success will skyrocket.