MCT is probably something we've all heard about, or even spotted in someone’s kitchen.
But then why is it so popular? There's always a “holy grail” product in diet culture that promises to either melt away the fat or give us the lives we've always wanted. Is this, however, the case with MCT oil? 🧐 For this reason, we are going to explain what it is and all of its benefits.
What is MCT oil?
The "medium-chain triglyceride oil" or in short, MCT oil, is a supplement that, thanks to its ability to improve weight loss and increase energy levels, has positioned itself as one of the favorites among people on the keto diet.
It sounds like magic, we know, but nothing is quite that simple. MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides), due to its shorter chain length, is rapidly processed. This is when MCTs go from the intestine to the liver where it is broken down and turned into ketones, which the brain and body use as an immediate source of energy. Making our body capable of staying in a state of fat burning, which is known as ketosis.
So, MCT oil makes it so much easier to stay in ketosis by generating rapid production of ketones, which increases energy expenditure and leads to fewer calories being stored as fat.
Now you're undoubtedly wondering what distinguishes MCT oil from other fats present in your favorite foods.
Types of MCTs
There are a few types of MCTs, consisting of different numbers of carbon atoms:
- C6: caproic acid
- C8: caprylic acid
- C10: capric acid
- C12: lauric acid
Long-chain fatty acids usually have 14 to 24 carbon atoms, but medium-chain fatty acids have just 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
This is important because the length of the carbon chain has an effect on how it is utilized in the body.
As we mentioned before, the shorter the fat is, the faster it can move from the digestive system to the blood circulation, and then to the liver, to be converted into energy. ⚡️
Furthermore, MCTs have been demonstrated to improve dietary induced thermogenesis (DIT), which is the heat generated by calorie burning. 🔥 The greater the DIT, the more calories are burned, and the fewer calories are stored.
Long-chain fatty acids (LCTs), on the other hand, take a far more circuitous route to become energy. LCTs are less thermogenic than MCTs and are more prone to being stored as fat.
If you are still thinking, "how can this benefit me?", then here are some other health benefits of MCT Oil.
What are the benefits of MCT oil?
Aids in weight loss 🎈
As we explained before, MCT oils improve thermogenesis – the body's heat production process that burns calories – and increases the production of two of the hormones that promote feelings of fullness: peptide YY and leptin.
Yes, your guess is right. This is the main reason why MCT oil became popular. Let’s be honest, if it helps with weight loss while promoting satiety, it is something to consider.
But it does not end there… this is accompanied by a lower rise in triglycerides and glucose.
Helps control blood sugar 🍬
MCT oil is capable of improving insulin sensitivity, which is quite beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, as is a key point when it comes to controlling their blood sugar levels.
Helps reduce cholesterol 💛
Consuming MCT oil helps reduce total cholesterol levels. In the same way, bad cholesterol (LDL) is also reduced when MCT is consumed in the diet.
Reduced fat ✅
MCT oil can be converted to ketones, helping you stay in the fat-burning state, which is known as ketosis.
Provides energy ⚡️
As we have said, short-chain triglycerides travel faster from the intestine to the liver, without having to be broken down. This makes it possible for the liver to use it quickly as an immediate source of energy.
Can contribute to athletic performance 🏃🏼
Taking MCT oil could help reduce the accumulated levels of lactate, causing more fat to be consumed, instead of carbohydrates.
Enhances brain function 🧠
As you already know, ketones are one of the most efficient energy sources for the brain. Meaning that having a quick source of energy scratch can help with mental clarity and improved focus.
Gut health 🪱
Our gut stores tons of bacteria. Bacteria play important roles in how our bodies function. But to be able to get the desired benefits, there should exist a balance between the classified as “bad” bacteria with the “good” ones, otherwise, serious negative health consequences will appear.
Luckily, MCT oil has also been found to encourage the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. This may be yet another way it can help you reverse that unwanted weight gain.
How can I add MCT oil to my diet?
MCT oil is commonly used as a nutritional supplement in liquid form, and it resembles olive oil in appearance.
This is why it's simple to mix it with your favorite beverage.🧋 It also has no smell or flavor, offering you plenty of options.
Some ideas are:
- Mix it into your morning coffee
- Blend it into a smoothie
- Whip it up with your favorite condiments
- Add it to your salad
If you still haven't tried it, you can get your MCT oil HERE.
⚠️ Finally, anyone new to MCT oil supplements should start with a modest dose and gradually increase it to allow the digestive system to adjust to the higher amount of fat being absorbed. Starting with 1 teaspoon and gradually rising to 1 tablespoon per day is recommended.