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Does Coconut Oil Make You Fat or Lose Weight?

author image Nina K.
Nina K. is a Los Angeles-based journalist who has been published by,, Healthy Living Magazine, Organic Authority and numerous other print and web publications. She has a philosophy degree from the University of Colorado and a journalism certificate from UCLA.
Does Coconut Oil Make You Fat or Lose Weight?
Coconut oil has no magic weight-loss properties. Photo Credit: Niteenrk/iStock/Getty Images

Despite any marketing claims, neither coconut oil nor any other single food has the power to make you lean or heavy. No matter what you eat, you gain weight by consuming more calories than you need for energy, causing your body to store the excess as body fat. When you eat fewer calories than you expend, your body burns stored fat for energy, resulting in weight loss.

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Cracking the Coconut

Although some coconut-oil advocates suggest that this food has weight-loss properties, research doesn't back these claims, according to Anthony L. Komaroff, M.D., editor-in-chief of "Harvard Health Letter." At 117 calories with 13.6 grams of fat per tablespoon, however, coconut oil packs a heavy energy load. While moderate amounts of coconut oil can fit into a healthy diet, going overboard may contribute to weight gain. For perspective, consuming 3,500 more calories than you expend results in a gain of about 1 pound.

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