Coconut Oil, Ketones & The Science Behind High Fat Diets

Coconut Oil, Ketones & The Science Behind High Fat Diets

If you’re looking for ways to lose weight that don’t rely solely on willpower and restriction, adding coconut oil could help you achieve your goal. But you may still be wondering exactly how or why this could be true. We’re here to help break down the science around high fat diets leading to weight loss and how you can incorporate coconut oil to bolster your current weight loss or maintenance plan.

The first thing to know about coconut oil is that it’s made up of medium and short chain fatty acids. You may see it referred to as a MCT (medium chain triglyceride). This matters because while it is a saturated fat, it is processed quite differently by the body. So, how does that work exactly? It comes down to ketones (a fatty acid) and a process called ketosis, which, simply put, is your body using fat instead of glucose for energy. 

Because glucose stores are processed more easily, the body uses them first. In a high carbohydrate diet (the typical Western diet), the body is continuously using carbohydrates for energy rather than fat. If your primary goal is to lose weight and decrease fat, you want your body using fat stores for energy instead, and a higher presence of ketones in the body makes this possible. 

So where does coconut oil come into the picture? Couldn’t you just eat any high fat oils or foods and achieve the same benefit? While that would be great, no. Remember how we talked about coconut oil being a short and medium-chain fatty acid? This type of fat gets sent to the liver directly from the digestive tract, signaling it to produce more ketones. Combined with lower carbohydrate and protein intake, this puts the body into ketosis, leading to greater weight loss. Long-chain fatty acids, found in fish or olive oil, are important but not used as directly by the body for energy.

While your goal may not be to “go Paleo” or be in a constant state of ketosis, you can see how coconut oil could help your body begin to deplete fat stores and boost metabolism. Additionally, coconut oil can help make diets, such as paleo, a bit more flexible, as you aren’t depending on carbohydrate restriction alone to produce ketones in the body. But, how do you go about getting it into your diet easily and consistently? 

We’ve included some of our favorite uses and recipes below. Remember to check with your doctor before beginning any new program because we know coconut oil, but they know you. We would love to hear how you are using coconut oil to lose weight, or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, so please, share your recipes or ideas on our Facebook page or Instagram- be sure to tag us!

Top 5 Ways to Incorporate Coconut Oil Daily

  • Add 1T to coffee or tea
  • Add 1-2T to smoothies or protein shakes
  • Eat it right off the spoon! A quality coconut oil like Skinny has a very light flavor and texture that comes from being 100% raw & pure.
  • Use in place of butter or oil once food is plated (on a sweet potato or corn are our favorites)
  • Replace butter or olive oil when cooking or baking (1:1 ratio or more if you want the coconut flavor to stand out

Here are some recipes from our friends who love to incorporate coconut oil into delicious and healthy offerings!

Frothy Coconut Coffee Latte from Tina at Paleomazing

Roasted Brussels Sprout Chips from Jeanette’s Healthy Living



Coconut Crusted Chicken Patties from Cherry Blossom Kitchen

Merrymaker Paleo Cake from The Merrymaker Sisters' guest post on PaleOMG


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