About 84 percent of the calories in coconuts come from saturated fat. The saturated fat in coconut is called lauric acid, which is a medium-chain triglyceride. While studies don’t show any correlation between coconuts and fat loss, they do show a correlation between medium-chain triglycerides and fat loss because they are not stored as fat as readily as other fat sources.
While the jury is still out on whether or not coconuts can aid in weight loss, here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when using coconut products.
Because coconut oil is mostly made up of saturated fat, using it when cooking is similar to using butter. My recommendation is to use olive oil, avocado oil or canola oil because they are proven to be heart healthy. If you opt for coconut oil, use it in moderation just like any other fat.
Coconut water has gained popularity as an electrolyte replacement and can supply about 10 percent of your daily potassium needs. However, coconut water does not supply a lot of sodium. If you’re working out and sweating heavily, keep in mind that it is more important to replace sodium before potassium.
People use coconut flour as a replacement for regular grain flours. Coconut flour is high in fiber and is a good option for people who have a gluten intolerance. While coconut flour contains more protein, it also contains more fat. Like oil, you want to use it in moderation. Also keep in mind that you will have to use ¼ cup of coconut flour per cup of regular flour. While you will use less, you also have to increase the eggs in a baking recipe (about 6 eggs per cup). Increasing the eggs can add to the calories, cholesterol and fat in your recipe.
For more useful health tips, visit Central Texas Medical Center’s YouTube channel at YouTube.com/CTMCSanMarcos.
Lauren Beller, RD, LD
CTMC Clinical Dietitian