Normally, consuming oil should make one fat and gain weight, but how is it that using coconut oil helps weight loss? It is true, not a joke. Let us understand how.

Coconut oil is an anomaly among edible oils and nature’s gift to mankind. In science and nature, we know a famous anomaly that is of water. Ice floats in water. Normally, cooling a liquid should bring the molecules closer and make it heavier/denser. But water when cooled beyond 4 C starts expanding and becomes lighter and Ice at below 0 C floats in very water. This anomaly of water has enabled life to sustain under water even in colder regions in winter months. Similarly coconut oil gives you the benefits of oil required by human body and yet doesn’t give the side effects of weight gain.

Oil or Fat?
Lipids can be classified into oils and fats. Coconut Oil though an oil shows several qualities of a fat.

Oils and Fats

PropertiesFatOilCoconut Oil
Physical State at room temperatureSolidLiquidSolid below 25 C
Liquid above 25 C
Saturation of carbon atoms in fatty acid chainSaturatedUnsaturated92% saturated

Generalizations don’t hold
Having considered coconut oil as an anomaly, the following generalizations based on transitive logic are not true

  • Saturated fats are bad, Coconut Oil is saturated. Hence coconut oil is bad.
  • Cholesterol clogs arteries and bad for heart. Coconut Oil has cholesterol. Hence coconut oil is bad.
  • Oil intake should be avoided for better health. Hence coconut oil should not be used.

Rather the reverse of it is true for coconut oil.

Digestion is essentially about breaking down complex hydro-carbons like carbohydrates, lipids and proteins into basic carbon dioxide and water using oxygen and release energy. Simpler hydrocarbons are easier to digest than complex ones.

Digestion of glucose

Medium Chain Fatty Acids
Majority of coconut oil is easily digestible medium chain fatty acid. Other oils consists of long chain fatty acids and require special enzymes for digestion, they give more strain to pancreas, liver and entire digestive system and they get stored as body fat.
Coconut oil had 50% lauric acid of carbon chain length 12. To compare with alternative edible oils. Olive oil considered healthy is majority oleic acid of length 18. Sunflower oil, a mass consumed oil is majority linoleic acid of length 18.
Practically compare your feelings after eating oil fried food with coconut oil vs sunflower oil to feel the difference. Stomach feels bloated and heavy with sunflower oil but light with coconut oil.

Reasons for weight loss

  • Improved metabolism. So, with lesser quantity of food the desired energy is generated in body
  • Instant energy. Craving for food reduces when energy is supplied
  • Not stored as fat. Fully digested into useful energy and not stored as fat.

For many who live outside the tropical regions, don’t get coconuts, import coconut oil and use it for their health. But those in tropical region where coconuts are available don’t value what they have. Kannada saying “Hittala gida maddalla” literally translates to “The plant growing in the backyard is not medicine”.

Dr. Mercola –