While extra virgin olive oil has always been (and will continue to be) a staple, nutritious, go-to oil for healthy cooking and food prep; there’s a new kid on the block.
One that’s been touted by “celebrity” fitness gurus for its metabolism and weight-loss benefits; Hollywood celebrities for its hair, skin and anti-aging properties, and researchers who have examined its compelling claims – is extra virgin coconut oil.
While coconut oil is 90% SATURATED FAT, by most standards, it’s even healthier than extra virgin olive oil! It has a higher smoke point than olive oil (350 vs. 320 degrees F), meaning it can withstand even higher temperatures without being damaged. Yet its most unique health-supporting and fat-loss benefits come from a special type of saturated fat abundantly found in coconut oil: medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
MCTs are a unique form of saturated fat that have been shown to possess antioxidant and anti-microbial properties and may also offer anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral immune benefits.
Even more, several studies have linked replacing other fats with the consumption of extra virgin coconut oil to smaller waist sizes. One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found MCTs to be THREE times more effective at raising metabolism than long-chain fatty acids. Another study showed coconut oil provided a greater muscle-preserving effect when calories were restricted in overweight individuals.
You see, because medium-chain fats are metabolized by being sent right to the liver from the digestive track (unlike most fats), they’re more likely to be used immediately for energy or stored as ketone bodies. In addition, coconut oil appears to be more “thermogenic;” that is, it may increase energy burning. One study, for example, showed that when 1 to 2 tablespoons of MCTs were consumed, energy burning increased by 5% or about 120 calories per day.
Beyond that, coconut oil has been shown to slow digestion, increase feelings of fullness and support healthy blood sugar levels. It also appears to reduce appetite, so you’ll eat fewer calories. In one study, healthy men who were eating high amounts of MCTs, ate 256 fewer calories per day, without even trying.
Clearly, replacing other fats with this super oil as part of your nutrition plan may carry numerous benefits.