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Eat Oil, Lose Weight?


Submitted By: Amy Sercel

Edited By: Marcia Bristow MS RDN CSSD CD

An oil that can help you lose weight if you eat it more often?  It sounds too good to be true!  Health bloggers and media spokespeople have recently supported this idea; however, it may not be quite accurate. A study from Brazil found that women who were trying to lose weight and added two tablespoons of coconut oil to their daily diet only lost 0.2 pounds more than women who used the same amount of soybean oil.  To support weight loss, they all ate meal patterns high in fruits and vegetables and low in refined carbohydrates and walked four days per week.  As a result, everyone ultimately lost weight, regardless of whether they used coconut oil or soybean oil.

While coconut oil may not significantly affect weight loss, it can add a unique flavor to your foods and serve as an interesting alternative to other types of oils.  If you’d like to try it, it is pretty easy to include in foods you already eat.  For example, you can use it to sauté meat or vegetables.  This is especially tasty when preparing stir-fries or curries.  You can also add it to drinks!  Try putting a small spoonful in your coffee instead of cream. Just remember, coconut oil is about 92% saturated fat, so you should limit yourself to two tablespoons per day.  This way, you will not exceed the daily saturated fat intake advised for good health.

If you are trying to lose weight, the most effective strategy is to eat fewer calories and increase physical activity.  You should aim for about thirty minutes of physical activity every day.  If you’re pressed for time, try taking a break every few hours to walk for ten minutes.  A good way to eat fewer calories is to consume lots of fruits and vegetables, which are filling but low in calories.  Serving a steamed vegetable along with your main dish can help fill you up so you aren’t tempted to go back for seconds.  You can also make a fruit salad for a dessert or snack to satisfy your sweet tooth.  If you want to try using coconut oil to some foods, go ahead!  It might not increase weight loss, but it will definitely add variety and flavor to your meal.

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