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Dr. Oz explores coconut oil benefits for weight loss and overcoming anorexia

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Currently in its fifth season, Dr. Mehmet Oz's talk show has ranged from discussions of healthy fats to the tales of individuals facing potentially life-threatening problems such as anorexia. On his Dec. 19 episode, Dr. Oz revisited some of the people whose lives he has impacted and discussed why he views coconut oil as helpful in weight loss.

For this episode entitled "Where Are They Now," Dr. Oz recalled the life-threatening situation faced by 40-year-old Brian. Weighing only 75 pounds, Brian agreed to let Dr. Oz help him recover. Now, Brian looks at that pivotal period as the moment where he chose life. Brian told Dr. Oz that without him, he would not be alive today.

Dr. Oz emphasizes that eating disorders can be life-threatening. For that reason, he has repeatedly featured the dark side of dieting on his show and, he says, recently took on the mission of exposing "pro-Ana" Web sites who seek to promote anorexia and bulimia.

Pro-Ana Web sites encourage starvation diets through "thinspiration" mantras and photos of size zero actresses regarded as heroines. Although Dr. Oz says he knew little about eating disorders when he first began his show five years ago, he now recognizes that these sites are harming young girls who are, literally, dying to be thin.

Also covered on Dr. Oz's Dec. 19 episode: A couple who lost more than 300 pounds together. They proudly walked out and revealed how they discovered that by eating the right fats, they actually could control their hunger more easily and shed pounds.

The healthy fats recommended by these weight loss winners and Dr. Oz: Coconut oil and olive oil. They contain omegas, which provide benefits ranging from curbing hunger to improving your thyroid function.

Although we hear a lot about using olive oil, coconut oil provides MCTs, which have been shown to boost your metabolism and help your body to burn fat more efficiently. One study, for example, showed that women who consumed about two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks reduced their belly fat and did not gain weight.

Where to find: Coconut oil is available in some grocery stores and most health food stores. It's also sold online, such as Nutiva Certified Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

For those who think it seems counter-intuitive to eat fat to lose fat, a new study shows that it is sugar, not fat, that causes food cravings and weight gain: Read about the latest research by clicking here.

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