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2 Scientific Studies Prove Coconut Oil is a Gut Buster

Updated on August 27, 2016
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Coconut Oil and Heart Health

Staying fit and trim isn't just for vanity's sake anymore. It is well known that obesity, particularly in the mid-section, is linked to higher risk for cardiovascular disease. Both high levels of continued stress and poor diet choices contribute to growth in the waistline, as well as imbalanced cholesterol levels.

Virgin coconut oil (VCO) has reached cult status, as the newly discovered solution to many of modern man's illnesses. Everything from heart and lung, to oral and sinus health are purported to benefit from virgin coconut oil. So, is it possible that coconut oil is also a magic weight loss "pill" for reducing waistline circumferences?

It appears to be very likely; two small studies have already confirmed the efficacy of coconut oil consumption to reduce waist circumference or visceral adiposity, as it is fondly referred to in the medical community, in both men and women. But, will adding a saturated fat like VCO to your diet increase bad cholesterol levels?

Coconut Oil for Weight Loss?

Would you be willing to consume 10 ml of coconut oil before each meal to lose inches in your waistline?

See results

The Malaysian Study on Reducing Visceral Adiposity aka Belly Fat

In their study, "An Open-Label Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Virgin Coconut Oil in Reducing Visceral Adiposity," researchers, Kai Ming Liau, Yeong Yeh Lee, Chee Keong Chen, and Aida Hanum G. Rasool, studied the effects of adding 30 ml of coconut oil daily to 20 participants diets, over a one month period.(1)

The 20 participants in the study were instructed to maintain their normal diets and activity levels, and to simply consume 10 ml of virgin coconut oil, 30 minutes prior to each meal.

All of the subjects in this Malaysian study were considered obese, but were healthy in other respects. To assess safety, tests were performed on the subjects cholesterol, electrolytes, glucose, renal function and liver function at one week prior to and one week following the study. These tests showed no statistically significant changes in any of these functions, suggesting that coconut oil had no significantly positive nor deleterious effects on the subjects in these areas of function. However, a longer term study might show changes that did not develop during the relatively short duration of the experiment.

Interestingly, males subjects lost an average of 2.87 centimeters from their waist circumference, and the women lost even more during the one month trial. However, because of the wide range of waistline results among the women, their combined results were not statistically significant.

As this was a pilot study, researchers theorized that a larger sample might return statistically significant numbers for the women's waist circumference reductions as well. During this short term study, cholesterol levels were insignificantly changed.

Traditional Health Diet Choices For Weight Loss
Traditional Health Diet Choices For Weight Loss | Source

The Brazilian Study on the Effects of Coconut Oil on Waistlines and Cholesterol

In another larger and longer duration study, 40 women ranging in age from 20-40 and presenting with abdominal obesity, were randomly divided into 2 groups.(2) One group was instructed to consume a supplement comprising of 30 ml of soybean oil, while the other was to consume 30 ml of virgin coconut oil per day, over a 12 week period of time. The oil supplements were divided into 3 daily doses, given with each main meal of the day.

In this experiment, subjects were instructed to walk 50 minutes per day and were advised to increase their consumption of fruit and vegetables while reducing their carbohydrate intake. At the end of 12 weeks, both groups had lowered their BMI's, however only the coconut oil group saw a statistically significant reduction in waist circumference.

The researchers concluded that virgin coconut oil did help reduce belly fat, without negatively impacting cholesterol levels.

The coconut oil group saw and increase in HDL, "good" cholesterol, and a decrease in LDL, "bad" cholesterol. The Soybean oil group saw an overall increase in cholesterol levels with an increase in LDL levels while HDL levels diminished.

Remarkably, despite increased exercise and improved nutrition, the vegetable oil eaters saw their cholesterol levels rise and their ratios of HDL to LDL become more dangerous. At the same time, the saturated oil eaters, consuming coconut oil, saw an improvement in their cholesterol ratios, contrary to everything we have been taught about oils over the last 3 decades.

It should be noted that the improvements in cholesterol for the coconut oil eaters may be due to increased exercise and increased fiber in addition to decreased carbohydrates in their diets. However, the contrast between the effects on cholesterol caused by vegetable oil versus coconut oil consumption turn the current wisdom of cooking with vegetable oils instead of saturated oils on its head.

Coconut Oil Benefits

  • VCO feeds the brain and heart
  • Is rich in antioxidants
  • Is a powerful antimicrobial
  • Burns more energy to metabolize
  • Protects against osteoporosis
  • Protects against renal dysfunction in diabetics

Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32 Ounce
Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, 32 Ounce

The 32 oz is the best value we have found for this high grade of EVCO.

 

Forget Weight Loss Pills - Suppress Your Appetite with Coconut Oil

How does coconut oil actually remove inches from the waistline? There may be several factors at work here that combine to give these results.

  • For starters coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids or triglycerides, MCT. This is important, because studies have shown that medium chain fatty acids give a greater sense of fullness than long chain fatty acids. Participants may be feeling full sooner and unconsciously eating less, as a result of taking two teaspoons of coconut oil 30 minutes prior to eating.
  • Coconut oil is metabolized differently than other saturated oils. Coconut oil passes right from the digestive tract to the liver where it is processed immediately and used either for energy or converted into Ketone bodies. These molecules are used by the brain and the heart for energy during periods of strenuous activity or fasting. In fact, the brain can use ketones for up to 70% of its energy needs, which could be significant for Alzheimer's sufferers, as we will see in the next section.
  • Coconut oil is thermogenic, meaning it causes us to burn as much as 5% more energy than we do when consuming and processing other fats. That can add up to 120 extra calories burned per day by choosing coconut oil over other oils.


This Hawaiian street sign illustrates coconuts and coconut oil are very much a part of the Pacific life and diet.
This Hawaiian street sign illustrates coconuts and coconut oil are very much a part of the Pacific life and diet.

Other Health Benefits of Coconut Oil

Various evidence-based studies have shown beneficial effects on humans and lab rats for a variety of common age related conditions. With so many health benefits, coconut oil and fish oil should be part of everyone's daily diet.

Alzheimer's Therapy - Alzheimer's patients suffer from an inability of their brains to process glucose. Without energy supplied from glucose, their brains are unable to produce new cells, and brain function begins to degenerate. However, their brains can take advantage of keytone bodies. By adding coconut oil to their diets, some patients have seen a reversal of symptoms. If you are concerned about your memory, coconut oil may provide protection in the form of increased readily available brain food.

Protects Renal Function for Diabetics - Researchers induced diabetes in a population of rats and fed one group virgin coconut oil.(3) After 3 weeks the rats were sacrificed and their renal function was assessed. The of the 3 groups, only the coconut oil group was without renal dysfunction. The researchers concluded coconut oil prevented damage to the kidneys.

Prevents Osteoporosis - In another study on rats, researchers looked at post menopausal rats to determine if the high level of antioxidants in virgin coconut oil could prevent bone damage in the rats.(4) Their findings after 6 weeks, was that the rats fed virgin coconut oil had substantially greater bone density than those who were not fed VCO.

Increased Energy levels, Improved Heart Health and Better Oral Health - Oil pulling with coconut oil can increase your energy levels, improve your gums, strengthen your enamel and improve lung function. Coconut oil is antiinflammatory, high in antioxidants and lauric acid, a powerful anti-microbial. these assets combine to lower inflammation systemically when oil pulling is employed. Too learn more about the benefits of oil pulling click here.

Review of the Benefits of Coconut Oil

Citations

1 Citation: Kai Ming Liau, Yeong Yeh Lee, Chee Keong Chen, and Aida Hanum G. Rasool, “An Open-Label Pilot Study to Assess the Efficacy and Safety of Virgin Coconut Oil in Reducing Visceral Adiposity,” ISRN Pharmacology, vol. 2011, Article ID 949686, 7 pages, 2011. doi:10.5402/2011/949686

2 Citation: Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity.Assunção ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, Cabral CR, Florêncio TM Lipids. 2009 Jul; 44(7):593-601

3 Citation A. M. Akinnuga, S. O. Jeje, O. Bamidele, E. E. Amaku, F. O. Otogo, and V. E. Sunday, “Virgin Coconut Oil: Remedial Effects on Renal Dysfunction in Diabetic Rats,” Physiology Journal, vol. 2014, Article ID 495926, 5 pages, 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/495926

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