Coconut Oil -The Secret Ingredient That Helps You Lose Weight

Dr. Mercola's Comments:  If you are committed to preventing illness and reaching your ideal weight: then you will be served well by following the advice in this important book. In a clear and engaging style that's an actual pleasure to read, Cherie Calbom shows why coconut oil is an incredible health food, and she also does an exceptional job of explaining other key dietary tactics that are proven to improve health and weight. Unlike so many other dietary guides I've read, she lays out a common sense plan that people can really stick to.

By Cherie Calbom

It's that time of year when many of us want to lose weight, shape up and get healthier. In fact, you may have made a resolution to do just that. The question is: How are you going to do it? The Coconut Diet: The Secret Ingredient That Helps You Lose Weight While You Eat Your Favorite Foods (Warner, 2005) shows you how with an exciting 21-day weight loss plan, simple meal plans and 70 delicious, satisfying recipes, and it's all based on extensive scientific research.

It also offers Phase II, a unique detoxification program to help you jump-start your weight loss program with colon, liver, gall bladder and kidney cleanses that help you flush fat and toxins from your body.

You've read about the amazing health benefits of coconut oil on this Web site. This is the oil that has promoted such phenomenal weight loss success for many people. Virgin coconut oil works wonders because it is made up predominantly of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that burn up quickly in the body - a lot like kindling in a fire rather than a big log.(1)

In chapter 1, you'll discover why MCTs are so effective in helping people lose weight and gain energy. The Coconut Diet encourages the consumption of 2 to 3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil per day in exchange for other vegetable oils, which helps improve metabolism.

You can experience the benefits of coconut oil by using it in recipes like Crispy Coconut Chicken Salad (p. 162) or Thai Coconut Salmon (p. 259). You can add it to smoothies such as the Low-Carb Coconut Smoothie (p. 153) or make delicious salad dressings such as Coconut Ranch Dressing (p. 252).

And, you can prepare an infusion by adding a tablespoon of coconut oil to your favorite herbal tea or other hot drink. You can even enjoy a Coconut Treat (p. 211-12) and lose weight. It's easy, simple, and delicious with the user-friendly recipes in The Coconut Diet.

Avoiding LCTs

You'll want to eliminate other oils (except extra virgin olive oil) because the composition of the fatty acid chains in polyunsaturated oils such as corn, soybean and safflower is dominated by long chain triglycerides (LCTs). LCTs are transported from the intestines as fairly large fat droplets (chylomicrons) and are dumped into the bloodstream near the heart.(2) Then, they are transported through the entire body before reaching the liver. The body is slow to metabolize them and tends to store them as fat, rather than burn them.

The scientific community has known for a long time that LCTs have a tendency to produce fat in the body. Farm animals fed vegetable oils usually put on more weight and produce more meat, while animals fed coconut oil tend to be lean and more active.(4) You can learn more about the slimming and heart-healthy effects of coconut oil and other healthy fats and the effects of unhealthy fats in chapter 3 (The Big Fat Misconception).

Vegetable oils, and especially soy oil, tend to be damaging to the thyroid gland because they oxidize quickly and become rancid easily. Eating rancid oils can contribute to impaired thyroid function along with a host of other physical problems.(4) A sluggish thyroid is one reason people say they can't lose weight, no matter what they do.

However, when people exchange vegetable oils for virgin coconut oil in their food preparation and begin consuming 2 to 3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil a day, they often report better thyroid function, an increase in energy and a drop in weight, provided they also avoid foods high in carbohydrates, such as sugars, starches and most grains, until they reach their weight loss goals.

Chapter 3 (Thyroid Health: A Weight Loss Advantage) explains how the liver is the main organ where damage occurs from oxidized fats that cause cell membrane damage, as well as where much of the conversion of T4 to T3 (thyroid hormones) takes place. Replacing oils dominated by LCTs with virgin coconut oil that is dominated by MCTs can, in time, help rebuild cell membranes and increase enzyme production, which promote the conversion of T4 to T3.

If you suspect that you may have sluggish thyroid function, take the Thyroid Health Quiz (p. 78-80). And if you're having problems losing weight or have reached a weight loss plateau, you may benefit by following the Liver Cleanse (p. 222-28) along with the other cleansing plans.

If you've tried many diets that haven't worked, chapter 5 (Special Help When Diets Don't Work) may offer answers for which you've been searching. No matter what the diet or how effective it's reported to be, however, it may not work if you have certain health challenges. The late Dr. Robert C. Atkins said about 20 percent of the people on the Atkins diet don't lose weight because of a yeast overgrowth known as Candida albicans. Take the Candida Quiz (p. 101-06) to determine the likelihood and follow the suggestions for candadiasis (p. 82-88).

There are also sections in chapter 5 on digestive disorders (p. 89-91), fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (p. 92-94) with a Fibromyalgia Quiz (p. 107-109) and emotional and binge eating (written by psychotherapist John Calbom, p. 94-100).

Your Coconut Diet Action Plan

With a simple, delicious and easy-to-follow weight loss plan, The Coconut Diet shows you, step-by-step, how to create a healthful, nutritious weight loss program that works. The cleansing programs in Phase II (p. 215-234) are especially helpful for ridding your body of toxins that can prevent you from losing weight, especially that dimpled pudge known as cellulite (p. 215-216).

The detoxification phase shows you how to flush fat and toxins from your body with an easy-to-use menu plan and cleansing recipes. With four effective phases and 70 easy-to-prepare recipes, you can start the New Year with better health and a slimmer you.

Cherie Calbom, M.S. is a nutrition researcher with a master of science degree in nutrition from Bastyr University, where she now sits on the Board of Regents. She is the author of 14 books including the best-selling Juicing for Life, The Juice Lady's Guide to Juicing for Health, The Ultimate Smoothie Book, The Wrinkle Cleanse and The Coconut Diet. She appears regularly on QVC with the George Foreman grills. For more information on The Coconut Diet, see


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  2. B I Bloom, LL Chaikoff, W. O. Reinhardt "Intestinal lymph as pathway for transport of absorbed fatty acids of different lengths." Am J Physiology 1951;166:451-455. J R Senior, ed Medium Chain Triglycerides (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1968), p. 3-6. A C Bach, U K Babyan, "Medium chain triglycerides: an update." Am J Clin Nutr 1982;36:950-962.

  3. Baba N, Bracco EF, Hashim SA. "Enhanced thermogenesis and diminished deposition of fat in response to overfeeding with diet containing medium chain triglyceride." Am J Clin Nutr. 1982 Apr;35(4):678-82.

  4. Raymond Peat Newsletter - Unsaturated Vegetable Oils Toxic, 1996 edition, p.2-4. Daneil R. Doerge, Hebron C Chang "Inactivation of thyroid peroxidase by soy isoflavones in vitro and in vivo." Journal of Chromotography B September 2002; 777(1,2);25:269-79.