Coconut oil along with coconut syrup may be the most popular and controversial superfood yet. Coconut enthusiasts and so-called experts claim that coconut can be used for pretty much everything. From skin and hair care to cosmetics, baking, and cooking. Name it and you will be surprised that coconut oil can be the better alternative for it.
One of the highly debated issues, however, does not deal with these matters. All attention is looming to these coconut products in relation to weight management, specifically weight loss. Numerous claims are flooding publications and ads online and on TV screens. All are promising incredible results when using virgin coconut oil and coconut palm syrup. The question is, does it really work?
Virgin coconut oil or unrefined coconut oil is the oil extract from the meat inside a coconut fruit. There are basically two options for extraction. One of which is the quick and dry method. In this method, coconut meat is quickly dried over low heat and is then mechanically pressed to bring out the oil. The other method is called wet-milling. This method involves pressing out the milk from coconut milk and separating the coconut oil by boiling, refrigeration, or mechanical centrifuge.
Some manufacturers and retailer refer to their products as extra virgin coconut oil. That’s even when they use one of the methods above. There are no methods to create virgin coconut oil other than the two above. Hence, both virgin and extra virgin coconut oil are the same. The word “extra” on the label is just a strategy to lure more consumers to buy a product.
Coconut syrup is a natural sweetener from the sap of coconut flowers. When a coconut blossom becomes mature, a farmer climbs the coconut tree and tap on its flowers. The sap is then put over low heat to create the golden-colored liquid sweetener known as coconut syrup. There’s no need for chemical treatments since the extract is sweet.
Is there really any truth to claims about coconut and weight loss?
There is no convincing evidence yet to support that virgin coconut oil truly promotes significant weight loss. The same thing goes for coconut palm syrup. Claims that are flooding health and wellness sites and on TV screens are based on a lab research that shows that medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are metabolized differently than other fats. In that case, MCTs are easier and faster to convert into energy and are less likely to remain as fat in the body. However, human studies show inconsistent and varying results. While some show no significant results, others exhibit weight loss albeit in a small amount.
On another note, several studies shows that consumption of MCTs over LCTs or long-chain triglycerides results to an increase in metabolism and a decrease in appetite. Others bigger studies, in France and China, support the result—a decrease in appetite. This why people are now looking at coconut oil as a weight loss helpmate.
In addition to that, the Philippine Department of Agriculture (PDA) reveals that coconut syrup has a low glycemic index (GI) of 35. This means that it has minimal effects on the blood sugar. Which is why people are now switching to using the natural alternative over refined sugar. But while studies suggest that a low GI diet can help lose or maintain a healthy weight and maintain blood sugar levels within safe range, there are other effective ways to achieve the same results.
Set your expectations right.
Naturally, people will jump at every opportunity that promises what they desire especially when it is easy and convenient. Just keep in mind that although coconut oil and coconut syrup may help you, it is important to understand that you cannot expect significant changes in your body weight if you solely rely on consuming these coconut products. What you need is to devise a healthy eating plan and engage in physical activity as well.