People are using coconut oil for everything from baking to skin care, and with good reason—coconut oil is a versatile, healthful, and useful product. Though some of the benefits of coconut oil are vetted in kitchens and bathrooms rather than scientific labs, others have been tested and proven by researchers. One notable study, published in the journal Lipids, found that coconut oil could have a positive impact for those struggling with obesity.
For the study, the researchers analyzed the effects of daily coconut oil consumption on women with waist circumferences greater than 88 cm. The study involved 40 women between 20 and 40 years of age.
The women were separated into two groups: one receiving 30 mL of coconut oil daily and the other receiving an equal amount of soybean oil as a control. During the study period of 12 weeks, the participants were also told to eat a low calorie diet and walk for 50 minutes each day. One week before the study, baseline measurements were taken in weight, waist circumference, and blood lipid profiles.
During the study, women in both groups cut back on calories and dietary carbohydrates, while increasing caloric intake of protein and fiber. Fat ingestion remained unchanged. Only one week after the dietary changes were made, the coconut oil group had higher levels of HDL (“good” cholesterol) and lower levels of LDL. Further, though both groups had reductions in body mass index (a measurement of weight and height), only the coconut oil group experienced a reduction in waist circumference.