Does coconut oil really whiten teeth and aid in weight loss?

Truth about coconut oil

By Mary Claire Patton - Digital Content Curator
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SAN ANTONIO - Everyone’s heard about coconut oil and its incredible health benefits and unlimited uses, but is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

Coconut oil comes from the white meat of a coconut after it’s pressed. Approximately 84 percent of the calories in coconut oil come from saturated fat.

Comparatively, 14 percent of the calories in olive oil are from saturated fat and 63 percent of butter’s are, according to Webmd.com.

The American Heart Association recommends about 13 grams of saturated fat per day, depending on dietary needs.

That’s equivalent to one tablespoon of coconut oil.

It’s important to note however, that coconut oil contains mostly medium-chain triglycerides, which the human body processes differently than long-chain triglycerides found in fatty-meats and other oils.

Weight Loss

Switch exclusively to coconut oil and lose weight? Hold that thought.

Coconut oil is high in calories. Since it’s mostly medium-chain triglycerides the calories in coconut oil tend to burn off before converting to body fat.

Can apple cider vinegar aid in weight loss?

Many studies show that medium chain triglycerides can boost metabolism, in one study increasing energy expenditure by 120 calories per day, according to AuthorityNutrition.com. 

Medium chain triglycerides are also known to reduce appetite.

Teeth Whitening

Rumors started floating around several years ago that coconut oil whitens teeth.

While there isn’t enough scientific backing to prove this medically there are countless testimonials online about the benefits of oil pulling.

Oil pulling is the act of swishing a small spoonful of coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes.

Oil pulling has also been said to increase general oral health as well, but the American Dental Association says there isn’t enough evidence to support this claim. 

Bottom Line

“This is another case of it if sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” registered dietitian, Dr. Lisa Young says.

Moderation is key when it comes to anything and coconut oil is no different.

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