Fat and slimming: coconut oil VS olive oil

Even two decades ago talking about the slimming properties of edible fats could be perceived as a misunderstanding. However, nowadays, such dependencies are not surprising anymore. There is evidence that proper balance of diet concerning the quality and quantity of products supplying lipids may cause the improvement of body composition. Lately, such products as olive oil and coconut oil have been the integral elements of the reduction diets. So, it's worth wondering which of the mentioned fats is better for the body mass and composition.

Fat and slimming

After long-lasting banishment, fat returned as an important nutrient, for which there's some place also in the reduction diet. Scientific studies even revealed that if major part of energy coming from carbohydrates is replaced with fat, then it may be a very efficient tool in fighting against excessive body fat. High effectivenes of low-carb diets is explained with better hormonal environment (more advantageous ratio of insulin and glucagon), as well as with potentially better control of hunger. Obviously, low-carb diets are not the only right solution in the work on the improvement of body composition, but their high efficiency has allowed to “disenchant” the edible fat and make it stop being perceived as an enemy of slim figure.

Olive oil and coconut oil – the fats of the 21st century

Both, olive oil (especially Extra Virgin) and coconut oil (especially unrefined one) belong to the group of products, about which you can read or hear a lot recently. The first type of fat is presented in superlatives, in case of the second one – there are various opinions. Coconut oil is sometimes blamed for including large amount of saturated fatty acids, which are accused of adverse influence on the condition of cardiovascular system. Despite the fact, that the doctors and dietitians usually don't advise using coconut oil, many “nutrition gurus” still recommend it as a great addition to diet, especially the one aimed at reduction of body fat, which is explained with the presence of medium-length fatty acids which are absorbed and metabolised differently than the long-chain acids. To be precise, it's good to add, that the Extra Virgin olive oil can also be a great addition to the reduction diet, at least for the fact that it contains a lot of bio-active substances, such as oleuropein, which speeds up metabolism. However, can the mentioned fats be somehow compared?

Interesting study

Research done within the last three decades have shown that including the sources of medium-chained triacylglycerol (MCT) contributes to higher energetic expenditure. Remembering about that, the scientists: Marie-Pierre St-Onge and Aubrey Bosarge decided to compare the results of including the MCT oil or olive oil to diet, relating the effects of the nutrition intervention on the changes in body mass and composition.

49 women and men took part in the experiment. All of them were overweight and were at the age of 19 to 50. The volunteers got an addition to their reduction diet ina form of 18g to 24g of the MCT oil or olive oil per day. The intervention took 16 weeks altogether. The volunteers took part in regular group advice concerning body fat reduction, they also underwent the regular antropometric tests. The changes in the body fat were estimated at the beginning and at the end of the experiment with the use of CAT scan and the DEXA method (these are very thorough examinations).

The results of the experiment

The results of the experiment occurred to be very interesting. The ruth is that some part of the volunteers resigned from it (which happens) and only 31 of them finished it, but, of course, that fact was taken under consideration in the final data analysis. The results were following:

  • the consumption of the MCT oil caused more significant loss of body mass than olive oil,

  • the consumption of the MCT oil caused larger loss of body fat,

  • that result was important within the body fat placed in the central part of the body.

Conclusions from the experiment

Using the MCT oil as an element of the reduction diet may support the loss of body fat better than using olive oil.

Is there any difference between the MCT oil and coconut oil?

It may be surprising that in an article concerning the influence of coconut oil on the body mass and composition the author cites the tests with the use of the MCT oil. Well, it's good to know that, although the participation of particular fatty acids in case of both mentioned fats is not the same, the common part for both products is high content of medium-chained triacylglycerol, and on the basis of all available data it should be stated that it's its presence that is responsible for the unique properties of the MCT oil. Therefore, it may be said that, in case of coconut oil, the results of such experiment would be close to those observed in the one cited above. Of course, to be totally certain, you may use the pure MCT oil