People are using coconut oil for everything from baking to skin care, and with good reason—coconut oil is a versatile, healthful, and useful product. Though some of the benefits of coconut oil are vetted in kitchens and bathrooms rather than scientific labs, others have been tested and proven by researchers. One notable study, published in the journal Lipids, found that coconut oil could have a positive impact for those struggling with obesity.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the effects of daily coconut oil consumption on women with waist circumferences greater than 88 cm. The study involved 40 women between 20 and 40 years of age.
The women were separated into two groups: one receiving 30 mL of coconut oil daily and the other receiving an equal amount of soybean oil as a control. During the study period of 12 weeks, the participants were also told to eat a low calorie diet and walk for 50 minutes each day. One week before the study, baseline measurements were taken in weight, waist circumference, and blood lipid profiles.
During the study, women in both groups cut back on calories and dietary carbohydrates, while increasing caloric intake of protein and fiber. Fat ingestion remained unchanged. Only one week after the dietary changes were made, the coconut oil group had higher levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) and lower levels of LDL. Further, though both groups had reductions in body mass index (a measurement of weight and height), only the coconut oil group experienced a reduction in waist circumference.
The amount of coconut oil used in the study was equal to about 2 tablespoons. Does this mean you too could reduce belly fat by including coconut oil in your diet? Possibly.
But before picking out the desirable parts of this study and running with it, it’s important to remember that the study participants also decreased their total caloric intake and began exercising daily for 50 minutes. Pairing these significant lifestyle changes with coconut oil consumption seemed to have the best results.
To make coconut oil part of your daily routine, you don’t have to swallow it by the spoonful. You can cook with it, put it in smoothies, or use it in place of other oils on salads, baked goods, and more. The health benefits of coconut oil are amazing – start using it now!