There has in recent years, been much media speculation and consumer interest in the beneficial satiating properties of consuming coconut oil and its potential to aid weight loss. However, the media has primarily cited studies using medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. The current perspective looks at the research that is available on coconut oil. It examines if and how MCT-related research can be applied to coconut oil and if there is potential for coconut oil to aid weight loss. The current report indicates a lack of consistent evidence on the topic of coconut oil, satiety and weight loss. Given both the publicity and the increased consumption of coconut oil further research, particularly long-term clinical trials, in this area are warranted.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $33.25 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Mintel. Tropical storm in the food and drink market: launches of coconut water quintuple over the past five years (2013). Available at: http://www.mintel.com/press-centre/food-and-drink/launches-of-coconut-water-quintuple-over-the-past-five-years.
Mahr K . Why the Coconut Craze Isn’t Helping Farmers (2012). Available at: http://business.time.com/2012/12/05/why-the-coconut-craze-isnt-helping-farmers/.
Waters J . Bulletproof coffee: is adding butter to your brew a step too far? (2014). Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/nov/25/bulletproof-coffee-is-adding-butter-to-your-morning-coffee-a-step-too-far.
Sacks K . 6 ways to cook with coconut oil: epicurious (2015). Available at: http://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/how-to-cook-with-coconut-oil-article.
Lockyer S, Stanner S . Coconut oil - a nutty idea? Nutr Bull 2016; 41: 42–54.
Bach AC, Babayan VK . Medium-chain triglycerides: an update. Am J Clin Nutr 1982; 36: 950–962.
Fernandes J, van de KJ, Weijers HA . Differences in absorption of the various fatty acids studied in children with steatorrhea. J Clin Invest 1962; 41: 488–494.
Bloom B, Chaikoff IL . Reinhardt. Intestinal lymph as pathway for transport of absorbed fatty acids of different chain lengths. Am J Physiol 1951; 166: 451–455.
Williamson JR, Browning ET, Scholz R, Kreisberg RA, Fritz IB . Inhibition of fatty acid stimulation of gluconeogenesis by (+)-decanoylcarnitine in perfused rat liver. Diabetes 1968; 17: 194–208.
Tsuji H, Kasai M, Takeuchi H, Nakamura M, Okazaki M, Kondo K . Dietary medium-chain triacylglycerols suppress accumulation of body fat in a double-blind, controlled trial in healthy men and women. J Nutr 2001; 131: 2853–2859.
Van Wymelbeke V, Louis-Sylvestre J, Fantino M . Substrate oxidation and control of food intake in men after a fat-substitute meal compared with meals supplemented with an isoenergetic load of carbohydrate, long-chain triacylglycerols, or medium-chain triacylglycerols. Am J Clin Nutr 2001; 74: 620–630.
Rolls BJ, Gnizak N, Summerfelt A, Laster LJ . Food intake in dieters and nondieters after a liquid meal containing medium-chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr 1988; 48: 66–71.
Fielding BA, Callow J, Owen RM, Samra JS, Matthews DR, Frayn KN . Postprandial lipemia: the origin of an early peak studied by specific dietary fatty acid intake during sequential meals. Am J Clin Nutr 1996; 63: 36–41.
Alexandrou E, Herzberg GR, White MD . High-level medium-chain triglyceride feeding and energy expenditure in normal-weight women. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 2007; 85: 507–513.
Binnert C, Pachiaudi C, Beylot M, Hans D, Vandermander J, Chantre P et al. Influence of human obesity on the metabolic fate of dietary long- and medium-chain triacylglycerols. Am J Clin Nutr 1998; 67: 595–601.
Dulloo AG, Fathi M, Mensi N, Girardier L . Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. Eur J Clin Nutr 1996; 50: 152–158.
Flatt JP, Ravussin E, Acheson KJ, Jequier E . Effects of dietary fat on postprandial substrate oxidation and on carbohydrate and fat balances. J Clin Invest 1985; 76: 1019–1024.
Kasai M, Nosaka N, Maki H, Suzuki Y, Takeuchi H, Aoyama T et al. Comparison of diet-induced thermogenesis of foods containing medium- versus long-chain triacylglycerols. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2002; 48: 536–540.
Papamandjaris AA, White MD, Raeini-Sarjaz M, Jones PJ . Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2000; 24: 1158–1166.
Papamandjaris AA, White MD, Jones PJ . Components of total energy expenditure in healthy young women are not affected after 14 days of feeding with medium-versus long-chain triglycerides. Obes Res 1999; 7: 273–280.
Seaton TB, Welle SL, Warenko MK, Campbell RG . Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man. Am J Clin Nutr 1986; 44: 630–634.
St-Onge MP, Ross R, Parsons WD, Jones PJ . Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obes Res 2003; 11: 395–402.
St-Onge MP, Bourque C, Jones PJ, Ross R, Parsons WE . Medium- versus long-chain triglycerides for 27 days increases fat oxidation and energy expenditure without resulting in changes in body composition in overweight women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003; 27: 95–102.
White MD, Papamandjaris AA, Jones PJ . Enhanced postprandial energy expenditure with medium-chain fatty acid feeding is attenuated after 14 d in premenopausal women. Am J Clin Nutr 1999; 69: 883–889.
Coleman H, Quinn P, Clegg ME . Medium-chain triglycerides and conjugated linoleic acids in beverage form increase satiety and reduce food intake in humans. Nutr Res 2016; 36: 526–533.
Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, de Vries M, Brouns F, Saris WH . Effects of 2-week ingestion of (-)-hydroxycitrate and (-)-hydroxycitrate combined with medium-chain triglycerides on satiety and food intake. Physiol Behav. 2001; 74: 543–549.
Kovacs EM, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Saris WH . The effects of 2-week ingestion of (–)-hydroxycitrate and (–)-hydroxycitrate combined with medium-chain triglycerides on satiety, fat oxidation, energy expenditure and body weight. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001; 25: 1087–1094.
Stubbs RJ, Harbron CG . Covert manipulation of the ratio of medium- to long-chain triglycerides in isoenergetically dense diets: effect on food intake in ad libitum feeding men. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1996; 20: 435–444.
Van Wymelbeke V, Himaya A, Louis-Sylvestre J, Fantino M . Influence of medium-chain and long-chain triacylglycerols on the control of food intake in men. Am J Clin Nutr 1998; 68: 226–234.
Han JR, Deng B, Sun J, Chen CG, Corkey BE, Kirkland JL et al. Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects. Metabolism 2007; 56: 985–991.
Nosaka N, Maki H, Suzuki Y, Haruna H, Ohara A, Kasai M et al. Effects of margarine containing medium-chain triacylglycerols on body fat reduction in humans. J Atheroscler Thromb 2003; 10: 290–298.
St-Onge MP, Bosarge A . Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr 2008; 87: 621–626.
St-Onge MP, Jones PJ . Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003; 27: 1565–1571.
Orsavova J, Misurcova L, Ambrozova JV, Vicha R, Mlcek J . Fatty acids composition of vegetable oils and its contribution to dietary energy intake and dependence of cardiovascular mortality on dietary intake of fatty acids. Int J Mol Sci 2015; 16: 12871–12890.
Denke MA, Grundy SM . Comparison of effects of lauric acid and palmitic acid on plasma lipids and lipoproteins. Am J Clin Nutr 1992; 56: 895–898.
Clegg ME, Golsorkhi M, Henry CJ . Combined medium-chain triglyceride and chilli feeding increases diet-induced thermogenesis in normal-weight humans. Eur J Nutr 2013; 52: 1579–1585.
Public Health England. Governement Dietary Recommendations London (2016). Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/547050/government__dietary_recommendations.pdf.
Rizzo G, Masic U, Harrold JA, Norton JE, Halford JC . Coconut and sunflower oil ratios in ice cream influence subsequent food selection and intake. Physiol Behav 2016; 164 (Pt A), 40–46.
Poppitt SD, Strik CM, MacGibbon AK, McArdle BH, Budgett SC, McGill AT . Fatty acid chain length, postprandial satiety and food intake in lean men. Physiol Behav 2010; 101: 161–167.
Scalfi L, Coltorti A, Contaldo F . Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr 1991; 53: 1130–1133.
Krotkiewski M . Value of VLCD supplementation with medium chain triglycerides. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2001; 25: 1393–1400.
Yost TJ, Eckel RH . Hypocaloric feeding in obese women: metabolic effects of medium-chain triglyceride substitution. Am J Clin Nutr 1989; 49: 326–330.
The author declare no conflict of interest.
About this article
Cite this article
Clegg, M. They say coconut oil can aid weight loss, but can it really?. Eur J Clin Nutr 71, 1139–1143 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2017.86
Current Nutrition Reports (2018)