The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil for Weight Management and Healthy Skin

The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil for Weight

You’ve probably already read tons of articles about coconut oil. But, this one’s different

You see, although coconut oil offers a lot of benefits for the body, there’s still one thing about coconut oil you should know about. This is particularly essential if you are planning on using it for losing weight and getting better skin.

Now, let’s break down the details.

Coconut oil is an all-natural oil extracted from, obviously, coconuts. However, what makes this oil extra special when compared with traditional oils, like olive and vegetable oils, is its saturated fat content.

Where coconut oil is nearly 90% saturated fats (a higher composition than both butter and lard) more than half comes from medium-chain triglycerides (fatty acids) or MCT’s for short. MCT’s are beneficial to our bodies for several reasons.

The most attractive reason is their ability to be quickly converted into usable ketone energy. It isn’t being stored as fat which means MCTs in coconut oil is one of the healthier fats to work into your diet.

The Difference Between Coconut Oil and MCT Oil

The Difference Between Coconut Oil and MCT Oil

There is a very distinct difference between coconut oil and MCT oil. First, let’s discuss the fundamentals of medium-chain triglycerides and long-chain triglycerides.

The length of the fatty acid represents the number of carbon bonds or carbon chains. Medium-chain fatty acids contain anywhere from 6 to 12 carbon bonds while long-chain fatty acids range from 13-21 carbon bonds.

Because of their carbon chains, the MCT’s are easily digested and metabolized quicker than long-chain triglycerides (LCT’s). MCT’s are also significantly less likely to be stored as fat during metabolization whereas oils like olive oil and butter are.

The truth is, 62 to 65% of coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides.

Of this percentage, only 15% of the MCTs are advantageous to your health. This is because the other 50% contains an MCT called lauric acid.

Although lauric acid is chemically classified as an MCT, your body treats it like an LCT. In essence, that means that it’s not digested quickly or gets converted into ketone energy really quickly.

​For this reason, supplement companies have popularized purified forms of coconut oil that contain only the most beneficial MCT’s. They wanted people to receive all the health benefits of MCT’s- without the less helpful (and sometimes unhealthy) long-chain fatty acids.

Coconut oil is also very calorically dense, hitting almost 120 calories per tablespoon. Pure MCT oil is slightly more calorie conscious at 100 calories per tablespoon.

The Thing About MCT Oil and Weight Management

The Thing About MCT Oil and Weight Management

Because of its MCT content, coconut oil can help you lose weight and control your appetite. But, of course, you need to be careful about using brands that doesn’t have any qualifier for the type of coconut oil they use.

The MCTs within coconut oil are excellent for weight management. However, consuming a non-purified coconut oil supplement too frequently may cause heart problems and weight gain and that’s the last thing you want to happen, right?

Remember, only 15% of coconut oil has great health benefits. The rest of it either needs to be consumed in moderation or you’re better off without it.

MCT Oil and the Ketogenic Diet

MCT Oil and the Ketogenic Diet

Your body can metabolize the fat in MCT’s much quicker than other oils. They can even bypass liver processing altogether, giving you a significant energy boost without fat storage.

One popular diet that MCT consumption can help with is known as the ketogenic diet. You may probably have heard about it a couple of times already.

Your body burns two different energy sources to get you through the day and those are glucose and ketones.

The average person burns glucose from a normal diet consisting of things like sugar, proteins, and starches. If you want your body to burn ketones for fuel rather than glucose, your body must enter a carbohydrate-starved state called ketosis.

Ketones are made up of the fatty acids produced from stored fat within your body. Ketones are very important because of how they feed the cells within your body and also play a crucial role in the energy needed for your brain to function.

The ketogenic diet aims to burn ketones rather than glucose by way of fat consumption. The goal is to consume the healthy fatty acids (MCT oil, and bypass liver processing for the food or supplements to be usable ketone energy for your body.

Keeping your body at this state of ketosis makes you a fat burning machine so you can experience weight loss results without the chronic weakness and mental fatigue which is a typical experience with the ketogenic diet.

Best MCT Oil Supplements

Best MCT Oil Supplements

Three main MCT supplements act as medium-chain fatty acids through and through. These are C6, C8, and C10, or Caproic acid, Caprylic acid, and Capric acid, respectively.

Besides ketone energy, they have some other health benefits as well.

For example, C8 aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system and is the fastest MCT to metabolize to the brain. Once consumed, it only takes 3 steps to convert it into energy in comparison to glucose, which takes 26 steps.

Coconut Oil and Skin Care Benefits

Coconut Oil and Skin Care Benefits

Although pure MCT oil may be the better option over coconut oil when it comes to weight management and cognitive functions, coconut oil still comes in first when it comes to skin care.

Because of its melting point, coconut oil seeps far into your pores. When used as a moisturizer, it can give your skin deep hydration.

It can also be used as a makeup remover and a way to fight existing acne. Though it may not seem like oil would be the best thing to rub on your face, it has the power to protect your skin from pathogens and other bacteria that can infect whiteheads or blind pimples.

Coconut oil can also be used for wrinkle prevention. Its saturated fat attracts protein molecules deep within your skin which allows the collagen layer to repair itself.

Another skin-related use for coconut oil is solar radiation protection. Though coconut oil tops out at SPF 4, it could do wonders for your face on a casual day outdoors.

You may want to apply a real sunscreen for a day at the beach, but using coconut oil as an everyday moisturizer gives you that extra boost of protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

You can even apply coconut oil to your skin after a day in the sun with no protection.

It will reduce the inflammation from the burn and give your skin a soothing feeling. No wonder coconut oil is a staple ingredient used by more and more skin care professionals who follow a holistic estheticians training.

Lastly, if you ever find yourself with chapped lips, put just a drop of coconut oil on your fingertip and rub it in. Your cracked lips will be gone in no time.​

The Surprising Benefits of Coconut Oil for Weight Management and Healthy Skin

Dr Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara

A board-certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology

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