Coconut oil provides high number of calories and some suggest that one should take 20% of the total recommended calories, or use a fixed two tablespoon of coconut oil for those intending to lose weight.

Coconut fruit has numerous health benefits. Although it can make coconut milk, coconut oil is eaten raw and added in foods or salads for improved flavor. Studies show that coconut can increase metabolism, enhance satiety, and increase good cholesterol levels (HDL). Though coconut is popular, many people still wonder how much to eat or take of coconut oil.

Dosages for Studies

Several studies have examined coconut’s benefits associated with its medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) using varied dosages.

Percentage Dosage

Some studies used the amount of oil to represent a percentage of the total recommended calories that vary from one individual to another. For example, three similar studies combined butter and coconut oil to provide 40% of calories in a high-fat diet. This combination increased calorie expenditure and metabolic rate of normal-weight women. Another study established that getting 20% of the total calories raises the good cholesterol HDL levels in women but not in men. The study also found that coconut oil raises LDL “bad” cholesterol, but not as butter, which is good for heart health. The above studies suggest that a person maintains weight by consuming 2,000 calories, can incorporate a daily intake of 36-40 grams of coconut oil in their diet.

Fixed Dosages

Some studies used a different approach, allowing participants to take the same amount of coconut oil irrespective of their calorie intake. One study using a fixed dosage of 2 tablespoons of the oil on obese or overweight persons every day for four weeks found that the participants lost an average of 2.87cm of their waistline. The participants lost weight without increasing their physical activity or restricting their caloric intake. Another study on obese women taking 30 ml of coconut oil while on a calorie-restricted diet discovered that the participants’ waist sizes reduced significantly, and their HDL “good” cholesterol increased. The control group had the exact opposite result.

What is the Recommended Daily intake of Coconut Oil?

Several trial studies have established that taking two tablespoons or 30 ml of coconut oil can be an effective dose. The resulting benefit of this dosage has been reduced belly fat, controlled body weight, and other enhanced health markers. However, some studies also used a daily intake of 2.5 tablespoons or 39grams of coconut oil, depending on a person’s recommended daily calorie intake.

A dosage of two tablespoons daily provides you with 18 grams of MCTs, falling within the recommended range of 15-30 grams needed to improve one’s metabolic rate. Additionally, two tablespoon dosage is perfect as it leaves room for consuming other healthy fats coming from avocados and nuts. It means that you can have a variety of these fats incorporated into your diet after taken your daily dose of coconut oil. However, it is recommended that you start slowly on the oil to avoid side effects, such as loose stools and nausea, associated with intake. You could begin with taking one tablespoon and then progress to two tablespoons when your body has adjusted to it.

Ways to Eat Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is has many uses and can be  included in your diet in various ways.

Used for cooking

The oils have 90% saturated fatty acids, meaning, it is stable at high temperatures, thus ideal for cooking. Additionally, its smoke point is high, reaching 175 degrees Celsius. Coconut oil melts at 24 degrees Celsius and is kept semi-solid; therefore, it should not be refrigerated but kept in a cupboard to ensure it is pliable. It is challenging to scoop out of its container during cold seasons as low temperatures solidify the oil. In instances like this, you can whip the oil in a blender or electric mixture to make it easier to use while cooking.

Below are some cooking ideas:

Stir-frying: You can use two tablespoons of coconut oil in cooking eggs, vegetables, fish, or meat.

Popcorn: You can make your stove-top popcorn or air-pooped popcorn with drizzled melted coconut oil.

Baking: Use coconut oil on meat or poultry before coating them with seasonings for better taste.

Making Recipes: You can also use the oil on recipes as a substitute for butter in the ratio of 1:1. However, before blending the oil with some ingredients, such as milk and eggs, ensure that these ingredients are not cold so that the oil does not solidify or become clumpy.If you want to add the oil to protein shakes or smoothies, melt it first for an efficient mix.

Add to Tea or Coffee: Coconut oil can also be added to tea or coffee in small amounts- one or two teaspoons. For example, the “cocoa chai tea for one” is made with one teaspoon of coconut oil, a chai tea bag, one tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, and one tablespoon of cream. For a perfect cocoa Chai tea for one, pour one cup of boiling water on the teabag and allow it to rest for 2-3 minutes. Discard the tea bag, add the other ingredients into the tea water, and stir to mix properly. You can now have your healthy tea ready for drinking.

Coconut Oil Supplements

Coconut oil is also found in capsule form and could prove convenient for those traveling and still need to benefit from its nutritional value. However, this method of taking coconut oil has a downside. One capsule of coconut supplement contains one gram, an equivalent of 2 tablespoons will be 30 capsules every day. This can be tedious and unrealistic for most people; thus, many prefer using the oil in recipes or cooking.

How many calories does the oil contain?

If you count calories and check on weight, then there is a limit to how much coconut oil you can eat. One tablespoon of coconut oil boasts 130 calories. Although the triglycerides from the oil can enhance your metabolic reaction, consuming coconut oil more than the recommended limit can bulge your weight. Studies show that coconut oil can result in weight loss if you use it as a substitute for unhealthy fats in your diet, not when you add the oil on top of the other healthy fats you are already consuming.


Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides known for their many numerous health benefits. They can improve your metabolic rate, increase the good cholesterol in the body and lead to weight loss. However, it would help if you stuck to the recommended daily dose of two tablespoons per day. You can use this dose while cooking, add to smoothies or tea. Coconut oil is versatile and can be used to improve any recipe you have, including vegetable salads. 

Elena Ognivtseva

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

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