Coconut Diet 101
This popular diet has a die-hard following. We’ll tell you if coconut oil is the ultimate superfood that’ll help you shed pounds or just another fad diet making waves.
The theory behind this diet is that when coconut oil is combined with a low-carb diet, it’ll help melt the pounds away. This is due to the fact that coconut oil is made from medium-chained triglycerides which are more easily absorbed by the body (as opposed to long chained triglycerides found in most other oils).
The alleged secret ingredient to this weight loss plan is eating 2 to 3 tablespoons of coconut oil every day. The diet discourages high-carb foods like refined grains, potatoes, sugars, desserts and alcohol while encouraging antioxidant-rich veggies and lean protein. After following this plan, it promises that you’ll lose weight -- a staggering 10 pounds or more in the first 3 weeks, which then slows to 1-2 pounds a week -- and your food cravings.
Phase 1: The 21-Day Weight Loss Kick-Off- During this strictest phase, your food choices are limited to lean protein (i.e. fish, chicken, lamb, turkey, eggs, beef, nuts and cheese), brightly-colored veggies, 8 to 10 glasses of water every day and herbal tea. The diet claims you’ll lose 10 or more pounds during this phase.
Phase 2: Cleansing- This is an optional phase where you cleanse for 4 weeks in order to help you revitalize and lose weight. One recommendation in this phase is to drink a glass of water mixed with lemon juice and cayenne pepper.
Phase 3: Introducing Healthy Carbs- In this phase you slowly add carbohydrates like potatoes, whole grains, fruit and squash back into your diet. These foods are eaten sparingly until you meet your weight loss goal. Typical weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week during this phase.
Phase 4: Maintaining Your Healthy Weight:- This is a lifelong maintenance phase where you’ll eat healthier carbs in moderation. The diet advises you to go back to earlier phases or do a 1-day vegetable cleanse if you end up falling off the wagon.
Good luck with phases 1 and 2—you’ll need to eliminate so many foods that it’ll make your head spin and stomach growl. There’s also a lot of cooking—so you’ll need to put in the time to cook many of your meals. In addition, virgin coconut oil (which is less refined) isn’t cheap and you’ll need to stock up on it (a 32-ounce jar runs about $25.00).
If you opt to do the cleansing phase, you’ll be spending money getting your colon cleansed (1 to 2 times per week is what the diet recommends). You’ll also be spending money on several recommended supplements.
- Protein selection is from lean protein sources like fish, poultry, and eggs.
- Nice recipe selection in the book.
- A lot of scientific jargon plus the benefits of coconut oil are very controversial. There is a lot of research that shows that saturated fats aren’t as healthy as the author claims—especially in the amounts recommended on this diet.
- The rate of weight loss in phase 1 is much too rapid. A safe rate of weight loss per the National Institute of Health is 1 to 2 pounds per week.
- There is no need for colonics or detoxing your organs; that is why you have a liver.
- The first few phases are very restrictive, eliminating several food groups.
- It’ll be nearly impossible to follow the plan (especially the first few phases) while traveling or dining out.
The Bottom Line: This plan is potentially dangerous and has a lot more cons than pros. If you want to add coconut oil to your diet—go for it—but do so in moderation.