Coconut Flesh: Weight Loss Food?

Lately, I’ve started to imagine the world’s coconut marketers as evil magicians. They seem to have the entire health food community under their spell. But, does coconut help you lose weight?

Read on to find out.

 

Coconut half

Coconut: a beautiful food. But best left to those who want to gain weight instead of those who want to lose it. Photo: SingChan.

 

The world’s coconut marketers speak, and we accept.

“Coconut oil is good for you,” they command us.

“We love coconut butter!” we reply, in a hypnotic daze.

Well, as my great grandmother Millie used to say, “Never trust  a food marketer.” And to paraphrase Hamlet, something is rotten in the state of coconut marketing. (Does anyone still quote Shakespeare? It doesn’t matter. I just did.)

WeightWinning is about losing weight. So, let’s tackle the great coconut question from that angle.

Do the various coconut products help you lose weight?

Yes or no?

In this article, I’ll focus on coconut meat. In others, I take on coconut milk, coconut oil and coconut butter.

 

Coconut flesh and weight loss

Coconut flesh (or meat) is delicious. I love to toss dried, shredded pieces into my muesli, or just directly into my mouth.

One reason coconut flesh (THE reason?) tastes so good is because it’s full of fat. We humans just love our fat. More than 60% of coconut meat is pure fat. Fat is the most concentrated form of calories naturally found on this planet. Eating lots of it will not help you lose weight.

Look at it this way. One tiny ounce of coconut meat carries 185 calories, of which 80% (151 calories) come from fat. Two little ounce-sized pieces of coconut meat will give you more calories than any of the following:

  • One Starbucks Starbucks Venti Frappuccino (323 calories)
  • One large cake muffin (280 calories)
  • One regular-sized 2-oz. (or 57 g) Snickers bar (271 calories)
  • A 20-oz. bottle of coke (240 calories)
  • One jelly-filled donut from Dunkin Donuts (290 calories).

Coconut is not be as bad as a donut or another sugar bomb. That is because your body processes sugar differently. Australian Damon Gameau found this out the hard way. He replaced all his meals with pure sugar – just enough sugar to obtain the same number of calories he had been eating. The result was a weight-gaining, health-destroying nightmare.

But, is coconut a weight loss food? Not even close.

Will it help me lose weight? Nope.

Do I have to give it up? Let’s deal with that next.

 

What You Can Do Today

Listen, you don’t have to give up coconut.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt to do so, but if it’s a flavor you can’t live without, you can keep eating it. To enjoy the delicious flavor without gaining weight, just eat small amounts and infrequently.

Never eat it by itself, but always use it to add taste to a healthy dish to reduce the overall calorie load per spoonful. And, try to keep your overall calorie intake down by eating less of other high-calorie foods when you eat more coconut.

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Comments

  1. xxyoungbeezyxx says:

    oh shit I just ate many of that today :/

  2. every calorie is not the same.
    coconut oil has Medium Chain Triglycerides. it’s good to replace it with other types of oils. it slightly increases your metabolism. etc.
    but at the end of the day, if you eat more calories than what you should, you’ll gain weight.

    i’m on a high-protein low-carb diet and i’m losing 1kg/week. it’s not about the diet, it’s about the science behind foods and make them a lifetime habit.

  3. Ana Cristina says:

    You just compared a coconut to a Frappuccino? You clearly don’t know that sugars are way more fattening than.. well.. fat.

    Not to mention that those fats are OK, and not as dangerous as fried food or added, processed foods.
    Read a bit about the coconut fat:

    “While most plant foods contain very little saturated fat, coconut meat contains a large amount, with 23.8 g per cup. However, unlike other saturated fats, which are long chain fatty acids, most of the fat in coconut is a medium chain fatty acid. Medium chain fatty acids are broken down much faster than long chain fatty acids, so they do not contribute to high cholesterol, as long chain fatty acids do. In fact, according to “The Philippine Journal of Cardiology”, the fat in coconut may possibly help to lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels. Despite these possible benefits, if you have high cholesterol or heart disease, you should check with your physician before consuming coconut meat or any other food high in fat.”

    • Ana Cristina, I know it’s hard to face up to the truth about coconuts. I went through the same stages of denial, anger, depression and -finally- acceptance myself. I just love the taste of coconut.

      However, the simple truth is that coconut flesh and milk are high in calories and are thus best consumed in small amounts by anyone who wants to lose weight or keep it off.

      If we were meant to eat coconuts non-stop, they wouldn’t be found at the top of tall trees and encased in hard shells!

      The energy in our food is measured in calories. Sugar comes with about 4 calories per gram, while the fat in your coconut contains 9 calories per gram. Fat is the most concentrated form of calories on earth. There are more calories per gram in fat than the other macronutrients, sugar or protein.

      We need some fats in our diet, but it’s best not to overdo it.

      Of course, sugar (except natural sugars found in whole foods) is bad in so many ways — beyond the calorie count. I get that. But that’s the topic of another post.

      Whether the calories that go in your mouth comes from sugar or fat, too many of them will result in new fat on your body.

      • Ana Cristina says:

        Your logic is faulty from the beginning to the end. It’s hard to face up to the truth? Sugar is not fat, that’s the truth. And it’s not depression, it’s pure chemistry. It’s not about the fact that they’re high in calories, it’s about the fact that different substances and chains are absobed/digested differently.

        Have you even read what I wrote? And I didn’t say overdue it, I said a coconut it’s not comparable to a Frappuccino. Just like you don’t compare a tomato with a steak. See my point here?

        Sugar does not equal fat, even if in calories they are the same. No body will process fat and sugars the same way. Also, fats and sugars are different. So for an example, corn syrup is way more difficult to process and get rid of than brown sugar. And this applies to fried foods and coconut fat. They are not the same even if the calorie count is the same. 😉

        Also, nobody said you should eat a whole coconut.

        Next time, do everyone a favour and stop talking about foods because you clearly lack knowledge about how everything works from digestion to assimilation.
        Disclaimer: I am a doctor and I do know what I’m talking about. Cheers!

        • Ana Cristina, I’m glad you’re a doctor. We need more people dedicated to helping others in this world.

          In the same spirit, if you post any more comments that are nasty, insulting or mean (directed at me or anyone else) I’ll moderate them right off the blog.

          That kind of behaviour isn’t acceptable here. An exchange of views is fine, learning from and challenging one another is fine, but rudeness doesn’t measure up.

          I’ll respond to your points about nutrition in another comment later, when I have time.

          Thanks for shaping up, or shipping out.
          -dave

          • Ana Cristina says:

            No, thank you. Seriously, don’t reply to me. You’re not a person I’d like to keep having a conversation with after your last replies.

  4. Gwendolen Winchell says:

    I was overweight and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 18 pounds in one month without much exercise and it has been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at oceanflowers82@gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day

  5. I disagree.

    Calories in does not = calories out. The body uses fats for hormone production. That alone changes how your body stores or uses the calories you consume. Insulin spike from sugar will also cause your body to store what you just ate rather than keep it in the bloodstream for energy.

    I speak from personal experience and I’m also a personal trainer.

    • Dave Charles says:

      Thanks for your note. You are right that the speed with which you gain or lose weight depends on much more than just the number of calories you consume. Overall, the weight of scientific evidence seems to suggest that the best way to eat is what most people would call low-fat meals, not just because they are low fat but because they are full of nutrition and fiber. These meals would consist mostly of the things we all know to be healthy: whole plant foods like vegetables, fruit, legumes, grains… Better not to load down too much on the coconut flesh, which is very high fat. Get filled up on just coconut and you leave no space for the low-cal but high-value and high-volume foods like cruciferous vegetables.

      May I ask, what sort of nutritional education did you undergo as a personal trainer? I’m very interested.

  6. thank you for all my concerns in dealing with the coconut. i love coconut as a matter of fact i have one right next to me. i enjoy eating the meat of the coconut but i am also trying to loose weight. i kept wondering how am i not loosing weight. so i am going to have to not completely give up the coconut but i definitely cant eat as much. i hate the way i look and trying the bone broth diet at this time and trying to reduce my calorie intake, and excercise when my body doesn’t try to tell me i cant do it. put i push my self sometimes too much cause im really trying to loose 20 lbs. i’ve never been this weight before and im uncomfortable with how i look now but now i know its the coconut huh going to have to go back to crunching celery!

    • Dave Charles says:

      Thank you for your comment, ALCR. It’s a pleasure to be helpful. Changing your habits to be more healthy is hard, but I believe in you. If you happen to be drinking smoothies as treats, try these tips for making them into a weight-loss powerhouse.

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