Hi all- I know there are many pages devoted to coconut oil, coconut milk, fats - I've read a lot but haven't found my exact answer. Please forgive me if I've missed relevant threads :)
I have PCOS, lost about 20 pounds in about 6 months eating Paleo. Over the holidays I gained about 10 superquickly -- because I had bananas last week, nuts and had full fat milk instead of my usual almond milk while visiting my family for the holidays. That's what did it. My stomach looked like I was pregnant with a huge, round belly. (Many PCOSers have superrstrong insulin responses to a lot of foods, so I have to be ubercareful with what I eat. I am swearing off all fruits except for berries and NO dairy whatsoever besides butter and eggs -- not sure if egg is dairy or poultry.)
I spent a lot of time reading this forum yesterday and I noticed a lot of you said to eat 70% of your diet as fat. I definitely have not been eating that much fat. Then I read the funny post written by the guy who had a stick of butter and had boundless energy. It was hilarious and very interesting. Then I found a recipe (also on this wonderful site) with coconut milk (refrigerated) with added cinnamon and agave (I used truvia) for a beautiful dessert. I tried both when I got home - ate butter and the coconut milk. Had more energy and felt mentally clearer. Now I'm wondering if this will affect my weight positively or negatively. Can't really test as I'm about to get my period and retaining water at the moment.
I know everyone's body is different. I read on earthclinic that some people had 1-3 T of coconut oil a day and lost weight, others GAINED weight (on that site, people write about their experience and what worked for them. I was hoping to see they all LOST weight, but that wasn't the case). The general consensus on this forum seems to be that if you have too much coconut oil AND eat the same amount of all your normal foods, you will gain weight bc you are ingesting too many calories. But then I notice still others say calories don't matter, your body will burn off the cocnut oil bc it's medium chain...
So I am left confused. I would love to hear real feedback from real people who changed no other variable but messing with the fats, coconut oil or coconut milk (I'm assuming those are fats) - did you gain or lose weight? I've read a lot of theories that coconut oil helps you lose weight, but so far haven't really read concrete evidence or studies (except anecdotes on earthclinic). If I have a lot of weight to lose - I'd say about 50 pounds at this point - what is the best course of action to take? Should I try eating 3 T of coconut oil a day, eat coconut milk if I want a dessert, continue to have no fruits? Or is another type of fat better? I've read some debates on the topic but didn't see actual comments from peopel who said "I started adding x fat or cocnut x to my diet and lost x pounds." only people discussing why it SHOULD make you gain or lose weight. I want to see if it actually works for people.
Also, Is it safe to have berries with the coconut milk (I had been having a bowl of frozen blueberries with Truvia before)? I'm assuming it will dull the already low glycemic effect of blueberries, but not sure if I am right.
Are some vegetables safer to eat than others (i dont have yams, potatoes, etc). Also from reading this forum yesterday, I found out that some people cut out veggies compltely and get all their nutrients from organ meat. Judging from my reaction to foods and my difficulty losing weight, it seems I may have to be practically a ZCer myself, for life...Interesting.
I will also stop having nuts and nut butters. I just quit coffee because of its effect on insulin and cortisol. Switched it out with green tea.
I know this is long and rambling. This is all new to me, especially the line about eating 70% fat, so any input would be appreciated. I am on a mission to feel healthy, mentally alert, lose weight, regulate my cycle, feel healthy. THANK YOU!!
asked byKC_3 (146)
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on January 05, 2012
at 06:04 PM
I don't eat nuts at all, however, I'm one of those people who keeps my diet around 70% fat. It's one of the things that helped me to drop 175+ lbs over the past couple of years.
Here's my rule of thumb where there is conflicting evidence.
I eat when I'm hungry -- no hunger, no food
If there is information out there with conflicting evidence, I try it for 6 weeks one way, then 6 weeks the other way, and see which way feels better to MY body. I give myself 6 weeks because sometimes the change takes time for the body to level out, and I don't want to quit too soon. (The exception being serious reactions like rashes, swelling, or shortness of breath -- you know... the 'blatantly allergic' stuff).
I do my best to be aware of my body and its needs -- that is the first thing that will tell me whether or not I'm doing alright.
I don't do a lot of coconut oil, though it is one of my go-to vegetable fats (in order of preference; avocados and avocado oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, and olive oil are the only 4 I use). Mostly, I get my fats from animal sources (in order of preference) --existing fats in meat, egg yolks, lard, tallow, bacon fat, heavy cream, butter, ghee. Preferentially, I get them from the foods I eat, rather than from added fat.
One thing that is really important when adding fat to your diet is that you listen to your body's hunger signals. It's really very easy to add too many calories with fat if you just eat without listening to your body -- especially if you've gotten into a habit of eating on a certain schedule. If you're not hungry, it means you're satiated and your body doesn't need any more food. When you're hungry, choose your foods to take advantage of the macronutrient profile that works best for you. For me, this means starting out my meal with fats first, and then protein... then, if I'm still hungry, I'll have something carb-y. But only after I've taken at LEAST 25 minutes to eat my meal, even if I have to eat it over time, to make sure that my body has actually registered that I've fed it.
This works for me, and in the end, it's really about getting to know (and trust) your body to let you know what's working for you and what isn't.
on January 05, 2012
at 05:38 PM
I'm very pro-fat in general but I really like Robb Wolf's commentary that you will not lean out if you're eating the Costco container of nuts, a cup of coconut milk a day etc. I'm sure my fat percentage of my diet is high but I try to keep his advice in mind. I do put coconut oil in my coffee and I have coconut milk in my tea every night but they are both spare amounts. I probably eat about a handful of nuts a week. In addition, my diet is mostly fatty meat and not lean meat. I have lost 35 pounds.
on January 05, 2012
at 10:42 PM
Yeah, I really don't get the idea of supplementing with oil. Some weeks 70% fat makes me feel amazing, some weeks I do better 70% protein. And by "do better" I mean I digest better or my mood is better or I'm less hungry, or whatever. I don't usually play around that much with my macros except to achieve those ends (though carbs I keep low always, but for the same reason).
What helps me gain or lose fat is eating more or fewer calories. Sucks, but there you have it. Exercising is the same, I do it because it makes me feel great, it doesn't appear to contribute all that much to fat loss (though it can contribute to muscle gain and insulin sensitivity, which is awesome). So if I were to be drinking 2 tbs of coconut oil I'd have to give up a bunch of other calories in my day, which, frankly, there are so many yummier and more nutrient-dense sources of calories I could choose from. I'll take an extra serving of beef or a hunk of cheese over a 2 plain tablespoons of coconut oil any day.
When playing with macros, you really need to keep an eye on the total calories. Think percentages of your daily caloric needs, not objective quantities. More fat = less of something else. I do believe that there are some metabolic effects of certain foods, but I'm just not convinced that they add up to all that much. CO gives me a huge thermal boost when I take a bite, but I can't imagine that my face flushing for 20 minutes does all that much to cancel out the calories. And if you want that metabolic effect, I'd use CO as a replacement for whatever cooking oils you're currently using, rather than supplementing, so that you result in a (probably minor) net caloric benefit over your current diet.
For some, eating plain oil makes them less hungry throughout the day. If you're desperate to lose weight and don't care how you do it, I guess dosing with CO might be great. But I'd rather feel hungry, and then satisfy that hunger with something yummy and which gives me more mineral/nutrient bang for my caloric buck.
Final note: there are other reasons that CO is good for you, unrelated to fat loss. So I use it. I like it. A lot. It doesn't oxidize at high heats, it's a great source of good fat, etc. I would just never consider it a meal or supplement.
on January 05, 2012
at 10:27 PM
It's very difficult to do a strictly controlled experiment. Either you are substituting coconut products for another food, or you are changing calories. Plus you need to account for all the other variables in your life which probably matter more than exactly what good source of fat you have. That's why we tend to have to rely on a combination of science, history, observation, reason and personal experience. As far as I'm concerned, we should be able to eat meat. Anything beyond that requires justification. The argument for coconut oil is that it is hard to source 'clean' balanced animal fat for a lot of people. So getting leaner meat and adding coconut oil may present a better compromise.
A further step having separated the meat and the fat sources is to consume the fat separately, as a dessert like you suggest for example. This may be good for people who prefer to eat this way - and if you are avoiding all fruits and nuts etc. then that might be easier mentally if you have something dessert-like. How it all adds up in terms of weight loss however really depends on how it all fits together. I think a lot of people 'supplement' with coconut oil because they aren't actually eating enough fat in their meals. That's fine if it's intentional, but it's best to know and be on top of what and why you're eating rather than reacting all the time. Most of the time the improvements people see are a result of an approach or mindset that they are able to implement correctly that eliminates the major problem areas, rather than being about the details.
on January 10, 2012
at 07:03 PM
I think all the above responses are valuable. I eat a lot of coconut oil and haven't gained weight, but haven't had serious losses like others on here. I do eat a lot of fat and it seems to be helping. But I also believe in moderation, too much of something good is not always better.
on January 06, 2012
at 01:47 AM
I once tried to add just coconut oil as a weight loss aid. I was still eating mostly Nourishing Traditions (Weston Price foundation) style at the time. It didn't help. When I started eating mostly paleo, avoiding grains and beans, keeping nuts to a major minimum, and then adding lots of fat, that's when I lost weight.
on January 05, 2012
at 09:30 PM
I am a PCOSer and from my experience - I did not gain on a high fat diet ( but low carb ) but I certainly did not lose either. I have found it very difficult to lose weight and I am currently having most success with Mod protein diet ( 60 - 80 gms a day ) low fat and very low carb diet - mixed with weight training - inverted pyramid method.
Trouble with high fat diet is that its also very high in calories in theory it should work but I think the cal count in the end prevents you from losing......