Lose fat with coconuts

Unless you’ve been in a vacuum, you’re aware that the U.S. has a little bit of a weight problem. As a matter of fact, if you’re born in this country your chance of being overweight is greater than 60 percent. One of the many great benefits of coconut oil, specifically the medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) it contains, is its ability to increase energy expenditure. In other words, it increases your metabolism.

Unlike long chain fatty acids (LCFA’s), MCFA’s are processed very easily by the body. When they are consumed, MCFA’s are absorbed directly into the blood stream from the small intestines and go right to the liver. Once in the liver, they are easily burned as fuel. Because of their size and the ease in which they are processed, MCFA’s are not readily stored as fat. On the contrary, because of their size, LCFA’s are not as efficiently processed and the body prefers to store them in fat cells.

MCFA’s metabolism boosting effects have been known for decades and are heavily documented through research:

In a study, researchers compared the thermogenic effect between MCFA’s and LCFA’s after single meals. The meals of 400 calories consisted entirely of either MCFA’s or LCFA’s. The thermogenic effect of MCFA’s over six hours was three times greater than that of LCFA’s. Researchers concluded that as long as the calorie level remained constant, substituting MCFA’s for LCFA’s would result in weight loss. [1]

Farmers found that when they fed their livestock feed that contained polyunsaturated oils like soy and corn oil, animals readily gained weight. However, when they used feed that incorporated coconut oil, the animals got leaner. The main reason for this is that polyunsaturated fats suppress thyroid function, which decreases the animal’s metabolic rate. Soy oils are the worst offenders because of the goitrogens (anti thyroid substances) they contain. [2] This is what happens to us. Is it any wonder the obesity epidemic is so bad when our consumption of vegetable fats has increased more than 400%? [3]

Researchers at Vanderbilt University compared the thermogenic effect of liquid diets containing 40 percent of fat as either MCFA’s or LCFA’s. All subjects were studied for one week on each diet in a double blind, cross-over design. Resting metabolic rate did not change during the week. The thermogenic response to MCFA’s was roughly twice that of the LCFA’s. [4]

A study was published last year conducted by researchers at McGill University to evaluate existing data describing the effects of MCFA’s on energy expenditure and to determine their efficacy as agents in the treatment of obesity. They reported that several different studies have shown weight loss equivalent to 12 to 36 pounds a year simply by changing the types of oils used in everyday cooking and food preparation. Animal and human studies have shown greater energy expenditure, less body weight gain, and decreased size of fatty deposits when using MCFA’s as opposed to LCFA’s. [5]

Sources of Coconut oil:
Only use organic virgin coconut oil. I am currently using Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil. This oil is truly unrefined and made from organic coconuts. It contains a very high lauric acid content between 50 and 57 percent. I use between two and four tablespoons per day, which is what is recommended.

References
1. Seaton, T.B., et al. “Thermogenic effect of medium chain and long chain triglycerides in man.” Am J of Clin Nutr. 1986;44:630

2. Daniel, Kayla T. The Whole Soy Story. Washington, New Trends Publishing, 2005.

3. Enig, Mary., and Sally Fallon. “Myths and Truths about Beef.”westonaprice.org www.westonaprice.org/mythstruths/mtbeef.html

4. Hill, J., et al. “Thermogenesis in humans during overfeeding with medium chain triglycerides.” Metabolism. 1989 July;38(7)641-8. www.ncbi.nlm.gov

5. Jones, P. “Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity.” J Nutr. 2002 March;132(3):329-32. www.thyroid.about.com

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