Could Coconut Actually Be The Key To Weight Loss?
By Danielle Page
This food trend is taking over in 2017.
Just like in the world of fashion, food trends fluctuate every year. And for 2017, Whole Foods predicted it’s going to be the year of coconut everything. It’s going way past your basic coconut water. Think coconut butter, chips, ice cream, granola, pizza. Coconut everything, everywhere.
But if you think the new health food fad is the key to helping you drop kilos this year, you might want to read the fine print. We spoke with nutritionists to find out whether going cray-cray for coconut is worth the hype.
It Can Help Crush Cravings
As it turns out, coconut has properties that can keep you fuller longer. “The fat content in coconut is a medium-chain triglyceride, which helps with satiety,” says registered dietician Lisa Cohn. Plus, the fruit provides sugar for quick energy while the fat digests slowly. That winning combo gives you long-lasting energy and prevents hunger and cravings by keeping your blood sugar levels in check.
Cohn recommends adding jarred or fresh coconut to juices and smoothies, and coconut flakes to hot or dry cereals, fresh salads and cooked dishes.
It’s Low In Carbs
Bonus: If you’re trying to cut back on carbs to lose weight, coconut is pretty low in that macronutrient. For example, a tablespoon of unsweetened coconut flakes has only 3.5g of carbs. And since the sugar in coconut is flavourful, easily absorbed and unprocessed, it mixes well with freshly prepared smoothies and cooked foods that fit your low-carb plan.
Portion Size Is Super Important
However, you’ve to got keep an eye on your coconut consumption, says registered dietician Toby Amidor. That’s because, despite its craving-crushing benefits and low-carb status, coconut is still a high-kilojoule food with lots of saturated fat, says Amidor. If you’re going to incorporate coconut into your diet and lose weight, Amidor says to cap your daily intake to 10 percent of your diet. So if you’re eating 6 688kJ a day, that’s about 670kJ worth of the coco.
Aside from the kilojoule guidelines, Amidor recommends keeping your consumption of coconut oil to one tablespoon per day (500kJ) and your portions of unsweetened coconut chips or flakes to two tablespoons per day (about 460kJ). When it comes to coconut milk, keep your serving size of light unsweetened coconut milk, which is made with filtered water, to one cup (about 460kJ). If you like the richer stuff, cap your serving of pure coconut milk to a 60ml serving (376kJ) in order to keep your saturated fat intake and kilojoules in check.
Science Hasn’t Confirm Its Weight Loss Power Yet
“The fat in coconut is somewhat different from more traditional fats that we eat,” says registered dietician Susan Bowerman. “It is a source of medium-chain triglycerides that are structurally different from most of the fats we eat.” That means they’re metabolised differently than the longer-chain fats like the ones in olive oil or meat, she says. Unlike the fat in those foods, the fat in coconut doesn’t get stored as fat tissue and is used for energy instead, says Bowerman. Theoretically, that could help you lose weight, she says, “but there are no clinical studies proving that coconut consumption leads to weight loss.”
The Weight Loss Verdict
Consumed in small amounts, coconut can be positively integrated into a weight-loss plan by sticking to the 10 percent rule and watching your portion sizes. However, eating coconut everything on top of an unhealthy diet won’t have a positive effect on your waistline.
Coconuts aren’t just for eating. They’ve also taken the beauty industry by storm. This is what happens when you put too much coconut oil in your bath!
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