Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coconut Oil for Weight Loss: Fact or Fiction?

Coconut oil for weight loss? That is a question that has reverberated through various discourses in many a health forum. People on different sides of the argument on the health benefits of this oil for weight loss have tenaciously defended their positions on the slick, clear and greasy liquid extracted from the coconut fruit.

While critics have argued that weight loss cannot be possibly achieved using a substance with a high saturated fat content, advocates of the stuff argue that it's precisely due to this fear of anything with high fat content that's preventing the world from fully maximizing the weight loss benefits of coconut oil.

Coconut oil is derived from the dried fruit of the coconut palm tree. It is composed overwhelmingly of saturated fatty acids that are mostly of the medium-chain type like lauric acid, caprylic acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid.

These medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil are said to contribute to the weight loss process by speeding up the metabolic process as these are easily digested by the body and then released in the form of energy.
Studies conducted on these fatty acids showed that these contributed to a nearly 50% increase in metabolism. Another study published in a reputable nutrition journal in the United States reported that medium-chain fatty acids were thrice more effective at raising metabolism rates than their long-chain fatty acid counterparts.

In sharp contrast, long-chain fatty acids that are mostly found in polyunsaturated oils like linoleic acid, are said to be more cumbersome to break down. Consequently, these are typically stored as fat within the body. These are the types of fat that many associate with bringing undesirable effects to the human body.
Researchers thus concluded that replacing long-chain fatty acids with medium-chain fatty acids was an effective method for weight loss.

Coconut oil has also been found to help in weight loss efforts in some other ways. It is said to help slow down food digestion. As such, individuals tend to feel more full and satisfied after major meals and are less likely to take smaller meals in between.

It is also thought to contribute to avoiding wild swings in blood sugar levels by slowing down the conversion process of carbohydrates into glucose.

Coconut oil also becomes a weight loss vehicle by detoxifying the body of substances that contribute to problems in the digestive system. By so doing, it nurtures the body's cells and enhances the functioning of the digestive tract.

Advocates recommend using organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil as it preserves all the natural benefits of the oil. They likewise suggest taking a teaspoon each day, then slowly working the dosage to about 3 teaspoons each day. This gradual increase is said to help the body adjust to the oil.

These recent discoveries notwithstanding, institutions like the Food and Drug Administration of the United States prefer to keep a wary stance on coconut oil and refrain from issuing any endorsement or backing to it. While these organizations have not totally issued prohibitions, they also are of the position that more studies ought to be made to further bolster the arguments supporting the possible benefits of the oil to weight loss.

Nevertheless, advocates of the use of natural substances and methods to healing persistently undertake endeavors to widen their acceptance in the public mainstream.

Coconut oil and its contribution to weight loss and maintenance of good health have long been questioned and even degraded due to the tendency to lump in all types of fatty acids into one single category. Now research has determined that examining these fatty acids and distinguishing between their different natures is key to finally appreciating the true worth and value of this liquid that comes from the so-called 'tree of life'.