Can Putting Oil on Your Skin Make You Fat? Surprising Studies That Back This Controversial Claim



The creator of the HCG diet, Dr. Simeons, was the first diet creator to claim that putting too much oil on your skin can make you fat or at least keep you from losing weight on his diet.

While this has been easy to dismiss as just another diet myth due to the general “kookiness” of the HCG diet to begin with, another doctor, Dr. McDougall, the creator of The Starch Solution, has also stated that applying too much body oil can lead to packing on the pounds.

It is harder to dismiss this claim when there are now two doctors who have stated it, and a look into scientific studies shows this may not be the kooky diet advice everyone has always though it was. Let’s take a look at the facts that make this “urban legend” closer to fact than fiction.

Topical Plant Oils Were Once Used to “Feed” Fat to Patients Before Feeding Tubes Were Invented

Dr. McDougall has stated that many years ago, before feeding tubes were invented, doctors were able to keep patients who couldn’t eat alive by placing glucose solutions filled with vitamins in their IVs (called parenteral nutrition and used today in rare instances). Since they couldn’t pump the oil into their bloodstreams, they rubbed plant oils on the patients’ skin to give them the healthy fats they needed. There are studies online about specific oils and how they are absorbed when used in this fashion.

Babies Covered in Coconut Oil During a Study Gained More Weight, Faster

In more recent years, a study revealed that babies born pre-term rubbed with vegetable oils every day gained more weight than babies who were not given this additional source of calories. This specific study used coconut oil, but there are likely more studies on other oils, because research into keeping pre-term babies healthy is conducted often.

How Much of the Oil That You Put on Your Body Do You Absorb?

A popular cosmetic scientist was questioned in a Q&A session on his blog about whether oil in cosmetics could contribute to weight gain. Surprisingly, he quoted a study that showed that almost 50-percent of the lineolic acid, which is the main fatty acid in safflower oil, was absorbed into the bloodstream during a test to see just how much would penetrate.

This does not prove that 50 percent of the fats in other oils are absorbed into the body, as they all have different molecular structures, but interesting, none-the-less.

What Does This All Mean?

If you are putting healthy oils on your body and are happy with your weight, then slather away to get rid of that dry skin. However, this is a good reminder that you should never put anything on your body that you would not eat.

However, if you are trying to lose weight or lower your overall fat intake for health reasons, then you may want to use that body oil sparingly, because the “myth” that you can gain weight from using too much body oil seems closer to a fact when you consider this information.

2 Replies to “Can Putting Oil on Your Skin Make You Fat? Surprising Studies That Back This Controversial Claim”

  1. It makes sense…. My sister was using coconut oil on her skin and wondering why she was gaining weight. She also said that her hair was getting frizzy. It reminded me of a few years back, when I starting drinking coconut milk. My hair was very frizzy…. When I stopped drinking the coconut, my hair went back to normal.

  2. It’s TRUE
    It works wonders in my hair, on my feet and body skin but boy oh boy have i gained weight around the midsection! I was using as much previously and was losing weight (i workout hard and eat well)…then, seems like, within a week I’ve gained! I won’t settle for any other explanation!

    Jesus is Lord!
    1 John 1:1-2

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