Yes, You Should!
...coconut oil is a special kind of fat.
Coconut oil contains the same 9 calories per gram as other fats and is extracted from the meat of the coconut. It is a white solid at room temperature easily melts into a clear liquid on a hot day (or over a hot stove!)
The idea of adding coconut oil to our diets is not to add on to what we already eat, but to substitute it for some of the possibly less healthy fats we may be eating now.
Here's why... because not all calories or fats are created equal!
Coconut oil contains a unique type of fat known as Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCTs. In fact, 65% of the fat in coconut oil are these MCTs.
What makes MCTs unique is how our bodies metabolizes them; they're easily absorbed into the bloodstream by the gut, where they go straight to the liver and are burned for fuel or converted into ketones.
This metabolic process, unique to MCTs, is what sets coconut oil apart from other fats.
MCTs May Help With Fat Loss
First, they can help to increase feelings of fullness, which can lead to a natural reduction in the amount of food we eat.
Second, because of their unique metabolic route, MCTs can also increase the number of calories we burn. This happens when comparing the calories burned after eating the same amount of other fats.
In fact, a few studies show that coconut oil may increase the number of calories we burn by as much as 5%.
Third, some studies show that eating coconut oil can help reduce belly fat or waist circumference. The importance of this is talked about in my previous blog post.
Just remember not to add coconut oil to your diet without reducing other fats and oils.
How Much Coconut Oil Should We Eat?
We probably don’t need any more than that!
What Kind of Coconut Oil Is Best?
Try and stay away from refined varieties, and opt for virgin coconut oil. This is because virgin coconut oil is processed at lower temperatures and avoids some of the chemical solvents used in the refining process; this helps to preserve more of the oil's natural, health-promoting antioxidants.
Something we should also consider is that each oil has a specific high temperature that we should avoid surpassing, e.g. the smoke point. For virgin coconut oil, that temperature is 350F, meaning we can safely use it on the stovetop on a low-medium setting, as well as in most baking.
Pro Tip: Always avoid hydrogenated coconut oil. It can be a health nightmare because it contains the infamous trans fats.
Oh, and it tastes great too!
All these benefits stemming from a simple ingredient swap.
Why not try baking something new with coconut oil with the recipe below?
Chocolate Coconut Bark
- 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup cocoa or cacao powder
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- Melt coconut oil, then whisk in maple syrup, salt and cocoa/cacao powder until smooth.
- Stir in slivered almonds until evenly distributed.
- Pour into an ice tube tray and freeze.
- Store in fridge or freezer to avoid melting.
- Serve & enjoy!
Pro Tip: Substitute other seeds, chopped nuts or dried fruit instead of the almonds if you wish.
"People often comment about my “diet.” I tell them it is not a diet.. I can eat anything I want, but I choose not to because I don't have the cravings for unhealthy foods any more, and the foods I do eat are filling and delicious."
-Simple Swaps Member Audrey
Looking For More Healthy Substitutions?
Looking for more easy substitutions you can make in your life that will have a big impact on your health? You're in luck because that's what Simple Swaps is all about!
In order to help you determine your specific needs and personalized steps so you can feel your absolute best, I'd love for you to book a free health coaching call. I want to find out what you are struggling with and give you my best tips to start you on a journey toward a lean and healthy body for life.
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