Effects on Weight and Metabolism

Effects on Weight and Metabolism

There’s some evidence that the MCT fats in coconut milk may benefit weight loss, body composition and metabolism.

Lauric acid makes up about 50% of coconut oil. It can be classified as both a long-chain fatty acid or a medium-chain, as its chain length and metabolic effects are intermediate between the two (3Trusted Source).

But coconut oil also contains 12% true medium-chain fatty acids — capric acid and caprylic acid.

Unlike longer-chain fats, MCTs go from the digestive tract directly to your liver, where they’re used for energy or ketone production. They are less likely to be stored as fat (4).

Research also suggests that MCTs may help reduce appetite and decrease calorie intake compared to other fats (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

In a small study, overweight men who consumed 20 grams of MCT oil at breakfast ate 272 fewer calories at lunch than those consuming corn oil (8Trusted Source).

What’s more, MCTs can boost calorie expenditure and fat burning — at least temporarily (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

However, the small amounts of MCTs found in coconut milk are unlikely to have any significant effects on body weight or metabolism.

A few controlled studies in obese individuals and people with heart disease suggest that eating coconut oil reduced waist circumference. But coconut oil had no effects on body weight (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).

No studies have directly examined how coconut milk affects weight and metabolism. Further studies are needed before any claims can be made.

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