We make no claims about the dietary effects of coconut oil. There is, however, lots of research that suggests that coconut oil can contribute to weight loss. Following is some very clear information about the mechanism for this, from Cherie Calbom's book 'The Coconut Diet' (Warner Books). While we feel excited about coconut oil, and include it as a staple in our own diets, we encourage you to do your own research, and even more importantly, experiment with it yourself and see how it works for you.
"The weight loss secret is in the chain of molecules that make up the fat of coconut oil. These shorter chain fatty acids that dominate coconut oil are known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). They burn up quickly in the body. They're a lot like adding kindling to a fire, rather than a big damp log...
"Following rapid breakdown and absorption in the intestinal tract, MCTs are transported directly to the liver. Once there, they freely enter the mitochondria (the energy-producing elements of the cell) and are rapidly converted to ketones, which are almost immediately converted into energy. On the other hand, long chain triglycerides (LCTs), which comprise most other oils, are transported from the intestines as chylomicrons (relatively large fat droplets). They are eventually dumped into the bloodstream near the heart. These fat droplets must then be transported through the entire body before they reach the liver.
"This difference in metabolism means that the body treats MCTs in a completely different manner than the way it deals with other fats. LCTs are slow to metabolize in the body, and as a result, are more easily stored as fat. MCTs, on the other hand, rapidly burn for energy use, thus are less likely to contribute to fat storage. If you consider your body's metabolism to be like an oil furnace, eating LCTs is like adding oil to the storage tank, whereas consuming MCTs is like pumping fuel from the delivery truck right into the furnace. Less is stored; more is burned.
"Because the LCT molecule is so large, the body cannot process it very efficiently; it prefers to simply store it in adipose tissue (fat cells). On the other hand, MCTs can be rapidly converted into energy. Here's how it works: The body removes the carbon atoms two at a time and transforms them into ketones, which are high-energy molecules that pass easily back into the bloodstream and are carried quickly to the cells. Once in the cells, they can be rapidly turned into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy molecules of the body. Eating MCTs could be likened to putting premium fuel in the gas tank of your car-it burns more efficiently.
"Thermogenesis is the rate at which the body burns fuel for energy. A very unique quality of MCTs is their ability to increase the rate at which the body burns fat for fuel. This could account for the trim, healthy constitution of most Pacific Islanders who eat a diet high in traditional fats that are primarily composed of MCTs."