THE FAT THAT CAN MAKE YOU THIN
By Bruce Fife, N.D.
Are you overweight? Have you struggled with weight-loss diets without
lasting success? If so, you are one of the millions of people who have
struggled to lose weight with low-fat dieting and failed. Statistics
tell us that two-thirds of the people who lose weight on these diets
gain it all back within one year. After five years 97% regain their
weight-that's an incredible 97% failure rate!
Chances are the reason you are overweight is because you aren't eating
enough fat. Yes, you read that correctly. The reason you may have a
weight problem is because you don't eat enough fat. We eat less fat now
than ever before. In the past people ate whole milk, butter, and eggs,
and relished in the fat in meats. Everything was cooked in lard and
butter. Nowadays we avoid fats like a plague. Grocery store shelves are
filled to the brim with low-fat, non-fat, and low-calorie foods of every
make and fashion. Restaurants, too, offer a variety of low-fat meals.
Over the past 30 years fat consumption has decreased by 11%, total
calorie consumption has decreased by 4%.1 Despite the fact that fat and
calorie intake has decreased, we are heavier than ever before.
Nearly 60% of Americans are now overweight. Thirty-one percent are
obese; this is double the percentage of two decades ago. Even our
children are getting fatter. Among young people, 15 percent of those
ages 6 to 19 are seriously overweight. That's nearly 9 million, triple
the number in 1980. Since the low-fat craze began in the 1970s we have
been growing bigger and bigger. Those who reduce their fat intake the
most and eat the least seem to have the hardest time losing weight.
Haven't you known slender people who gorge themselves on rich, fatty
foods yet never seem to gain weight? You, on the other hand, eat a
low-fat lettuce salad and gain 5 pounds--or so it seems.
The simple truth is that low-fat diets don't work-not permanently. You
can lose weight on them if you starve yourself. You're hungry and
miserable the whole time. In order to keep the weight off you must
continue to limit what you eat and go hungry. Few people are willing to
live a life of constant discomfort. For this reason, low-fat dieting is
difficult to maintain for any length of time. Consequently, most people
eventually revert back to old eating habits. When they do, the weight
Research has shown that those who get an adequate amount of fat in their
diets generally eat less than those to try to reduce fat intake. The
less you eat the fewer calories you consume. Getting an adequate amount
of fat in the diet is essential for effective and permanent weight loss.
When people get hungry soon after a meal they tend to overeat at the
next. One of the reasons why fat is necessary for successful weight loss
is that it satisfies hunger, thus reducing appetite and lowering total
food consumption. Fat slows down the emptying of the stomach so that you
feel full longer. When you are less hungry during the day you will cut
down on snacks and eat less at mealtime. As a result, you consume fewer
calories. Even though fat contains more calories than either protein or
carbohydrate, its effect on curbing appetite more than makes up for the
extra calories it contains.
The appetite suppressing effect of fat has been shown in many studies.
For example, in one study, a group of women were given a mid-morning
yogurt snack and then later served lunch and dinner. There were two
choices of yogurt. One was regular full-fat and the other was low-fat.
Each was labeled, but there was no mention of total calorie content.
Each, however, contained the same number of calories. The only
difference was the fat content. Participants were allowed to choose
whichever one they wanted. When the women were later served lunch those
who had the high-fat yogurt ate less than those who ate the low-fat
variety. The extra fat in the yogurt snack satisfied their hunger longer
and encouraged them to eat less at lunch.
Researchers also wanted to learn if those who ate less at lunch would
eventually make up for it at dinner. But at dinner the ones who ate the
high-fat yogurt and less food at lunch didn't eat any more than the
others. They weren't any hungrier for eating less at lunch. So at the
end to the day those women who ate the high-fat yogurt ended up
consuming fewer total calories than those who ate the low-fat snack.2
While all fats suppress appetite, some are much better than others as
aids in weight loss. Researchers at McGill University, in Quebec, Canada
are now advocating the use of a special type of dietary fat to treat and
prevent obesity. They recommend a fat rich in medium-chain triglycerides
The vast majority of fats in our diet are composed of molecules known as
long-chain triglycerides (LCT). As the name implies, LCT are larger in
size than MCT. The size of the fat molecule is very important because
our bodies process and metabolize fats differently depending on their
size. Most all the vegetable oils used in cooking and food preparation
are composed entirely of LCT. This includes corn, safflower, soybean,
canola, and other typical cooking and salad oils. The only significant
natural source of MCT are found in coconut and palm kernel oils. Coconut
oil is composed predominately of MCT and its effects on the body are
characterized by these fats.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Nutrition researchers
reviewed all the published studies to date on MCT and weight management.
These studies demonstrated that diets containing MCT result in an
increase in energy, a rise in metabolism, increase burning of calories,
decrease in food consumption, lower body fat mass, and reduce body
weight.3 Because of these effects, the authors of this study recommend
using oils containing MCT, such as coconut oil, as a means to lose
excess body fat, control weight, and even treat obesity.
One of the reasons why coconut oil is effective in reducing body fat and
lowering weight is because it contains fewer calories than any other
fat. For this reason, it has gained the distinction of being the world's
only natural, low-calorie fat. When you use coconut oil in your food
preparation, you can eat the same types of foods as you normally do yet
consume fewer calories.
The fact that coconut oil contains fewer calories, however, is not the
main reason it has gained a reputation as a low-calorie fat. Its
advantage in weight management is due primarily to its affect on
metabolism. Medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil are smaller than
other fats and, therefore, digest very quickly, so quickly in fact, that
the body uses them as an immediate source of fuel rather than pack them
away in storage inside our fat cells. MCT are used to produce energy
much like carbohydrates and, therefore, they do not circulate in the
bloodstream like other fats. For this reason, they do not supply fat to
fat cells or contribute to weight gain.
One study evaluated the body weight and fat storage for three different
diets-a low-fat diet, a high-fat diet containing LCT and a high-fat diet
containing MCT. Calorie content in the diets were elevated to induce
weight gain. The testing period lasted for 44 days. At the end of that
time, the low-fat diet group had stored an average of 0.47 grams of fat
per day, and the LCT group 0.48 grams/day, while the MCT group deposited
only 0.19 grams of fat per day. The MCT group had a 60% reduction in the
amount of body fat stored as compared to the other diets.4
Because MCT are used by the body as a source of fuel to produce energy,
they have a stimulatory affect on metabolism. Studies have shown that
MCT boost metabolism, thus increasing the body's use of calories. As a
result, calories obtained from all the foods we eat are burned up at a
higher rate, so that fewer remain to be packed away as body fat. This
boost in metabolism remains elevated for as long as 24 hours after
eating a meal containing MCT.5 So you enjoy an increased level of energy
and continue to burn calories at an accelerated rate for many hours
after the meal.
This increase in metabolism also leads to a rise in body temperature.
People with low thyroid function report that after using coconut oil,
their body temperature rises to normal levels and remains elevated for
many hours. Temperatures in such people can rise 1 or 2 degrees or more
depending on the amount of oil they consume.6 Those people who are
overweight because of low thyroid function can utilized the metabolic
stimulating action of coconut oil to help them shed excess pounds.
Another interesting feature about coconut oil is that it helps to
decrease total food and calorie consumption. Coconut oil is more
satisfying than other fats. When added to meals people tend to eat less
food and feel fuller longer so they don't eat as much at the next meal.
For example, in one study women were given a drink which contained
either MCT (from coconut oil) or LCT oil. Thirty minutes later they were
offered lunch in which they could choose and eat as much as they wanted.
The women who had the MCT oil before the meal ate less food, and as the
authors of the study stated, "significantly decreased caloric intake in
In another study a group of normal-weight men were fed a meal for
breakfast differing only in the type of fat used. Later, food intakes at
lunch and dinner were measured. Those eating breakfasts containing MCT
ate less at lunchtime. At dinner there was no difference. This study
showed that when MCT were eaten at one meal, hunger is forestalled for
longer and less food is eaten at the next. Also important, was that even
though subjects ate less at lunch, they did not make up for it by eating
more at diner. Total daily food intake decreased.8
Studies have shown that when oils containing MCT are used in place of
other fats in the diet people can lose as much as 36 pounds a year even
when total calorie consumption remains the same!9 Simply changing the
type of oil used in food preparation can bring about a dramatic
reduction in body fat and weight without changing the way you eat or the
amount you consume. I see this happen all the time. When people switch
from using vegetable oils to coconut oil they lose excess body fat
without even dieting.
Changing the type of oil you use in meal preparation is a simple step
you can take to lose weight. Since no other lifestyle or dietary changes
are needed to get results, you can lose weight without suffering from
hunger or struggling with weight-loss diets. For this reason weight loss
can be easy and permanent.
Where can you find the right type of oil and how do you use it? The
answer to these questions are found in my book titled Eat Fat, Look
Thin: A Safe and Natural to Lose Weight Permanently. In this book I
outline a unique weight-loss program backed by the results of numerous
studies involving coconut oil, and include testimonials from those who
have had success, as well as comments from health care professionals
familiar with the use of this remarkable dietary fat. One of the unique
features of this program is that it is so versatile it can be
incorporated into and work with a variety of different diets. It works
with low-carb diets such as the Zone Diet and Atkins Diet as well as
vegetarian and raw food diets. It's a dietary program you can live
comfortably with for the rest of your life so that the weight you lose
stays off permanently. There really is no other weight-loss program like
REFERENCES 1. Heini, A.F. and Weinsier, R.L. 1997. Divergent
treands in obesity and fat in patterns: the American paradox. American
Journal of Medicine 102(3):259-64
2.Rolls, B.J. and Miller, D.L. 1997. Is the low-fat message giving
people a license to eat more? Journal of the American College of
3. St-Onge, M.P., and Jones, P.J.H., 2002. Physiological effects of
medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of
obesity. Journal of Nutrition 132(3):329-332.
4. Crozier G. et al. 1987. Metabolic effects induced by long-term
feeding of medium-chain triglyceridesd in the rat. Metabolism 36:807-814
5. Dulloo, A.G., et al. 1996. 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. (50(3):152-8.
6. Fife, B., 2002. Eat Fat, Look Thin: A Safe and Natural Way to Lose
Weight Permanently, Piccadilly Books, Ltd., Colorado Springs, CO.
7. Rolls, B.J. et al. 1988. Food intake in dieters and nondieters after
a liquid meal containing medium-chain triglycerides. Am. J. Clin. Nutr.
8. Van Wymelbeke, V., et al. 1998. Influence of medium-chain and
long-chain triacylglycerols on the control of food intake in men. Am. J.
Clin. Nutr. 68:226-234.
9. St-Onge, M.P., and Jones, P.J.H., 2002. Physiological effects of
medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of
obesity. Journal of Nutrition 132(3):329-332.
Information in this article was taken from
Eat Fat, Look Thin by Bruce Fife, ND. Copyright © Bruce Fife, 2002. All
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