The Complete Lowdown on MCT Oils
There is a lot of talk surrounding MCT oils and about their beneficial properties for the brain and the body. They are considered among the fastest sources of clean fuel, since they require less steps to convert into caloric energy, compared to carbohydrates. The biggest plus point of MCT oils is that they offer you the chance to kick-start a weight management program, support a healthy metabolism, and power up your energy levels.
But did you know about all the beneficial properties of this super-fat that has become popular amongst the masses? If you want to learn about MCT oils and their properties, you have come to the right place. We will be discussing its extensive health benefits, which include better weight management and improved cognitive function. We will also discuss how you can incorporate MCT oils into your diet and reap the rewards of its properties.
So, read on below for the complete lowdown on MCT oils, and how you can take advantage of their beneficial properties.
What is MCT Oil?
Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCT are a form of saturated fatty acids offering various health benefits, compared to Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT) that are commonly found in foods. These fats play a vital role in supporting multiple body systems and a healthy brain. They are also great for weight management, since they affect leptin receptors positively by helping you feel satisfied and full for hours.
One of the best sources of MCTs is coconut oil, since more than 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs, but there has also been an increase in extracted supplements in recent times. A lot of people don’t know this, but another name for MCTs is MCFAs, or Medium-Chain Fatty Acids. They are a beneficial nutrient that must be a part of your standard diet. However, due to the misconceptions surrounding saturated fat and how they cause heart complications, they have been eliminated entirely.
Modern research has already revealed a lot of new evidence surrounding saturated fats, and that has led to fitness nutritionists, enthusiasts, and professional athletes using MCT oil in their diet, due to its beneficial fat burning capabilities.
The Reason Why MCT Oil is the Real Deal: Lauric Acid
One of the main reasons why MCT oils have become so popular so quickly is because of the massive ‘re-branding’ of coconut oil, and how its properties promote good health. This is in stark contrast to its previous image as a saturated fat-laden food that will increase heart complications. The United States Government has since admitted that they were wrong about the negative health effects of saturated fats, especially those derived from plant sources.
That has led to a comeback of sorts for coconut products, while the impact of lauric acid and its benefits shouldn’t be discounted in playing a role.
What Is Lauric Acid?
Lauric acid is a medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that is commonly found in foods with saturated fats. There are a lot of foods that have MCTs like butter from grass-fed animals, palm kernel oil, and coconuts. Lauric acid is an ancestor of monolaurin, which is a good compound that promotes good health in the body. Monolaurin is found in breast milk and is a strong antimicrobial agent that helps stabilize the mammalian cell walls.
Major Benefits of Lauric Acid
There are various benefits offered by Lauric acid, which play a role in making MCT oils highly beneficial for healthy minds and body. We are looking at the 3 major benefits of Lauric acid:
1. A Heart-Healthy Saturated Fat
Saturated fats have been given the green light from the government, but a lot of people are still skeptical about the consumption levels of saturated fats. This is because consuming high-levels of animal fat have been linked with cardiovascular disease and higher cholesterol levels for years. The only exception is for foods rich in saturated fats that contain MCTs. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, published a study in 1981 regarding two groups of people that lived in the Polynesian atolls – the Pukapukans and the Tokelauans.
The two groups consumed coconut in their diet at 34% and 63%, respectively, which meant they were eating a lot of coconut. Therefore, they were also consuming a lot of saturated fats in the form of other MCTs and Lauric acid. However, despite having higher consumption levels of saturated fats, neither group had any heart complications or heart diseases.
To back up that study from 1981, the Journal of Bioanalysis & Biomedicine published a review in 2014 on lauric acid consumption and its relation to heart diseases. The review found out that consuming higher amounts of coconut oil decreased the total/HDL cholesterol ratio and increased the high-density lipoprotein (HDL), which resulted in a reduced risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases. The new evidence, combined with a changed public perception, shows that saturated fats from foods that contain MCTs and Lauric acid should be a major part of anyone’s diet.
2. Less Likely to Contribute to Weight Gain or Obesity
There aren’t a lot of studies done on Lauric acid and medium chain fatty acids. However, it is well known that the liver metabolizes them quickly, which makes it less likely that they contribute to fat accumulation. A study published in 2009 on Lipids, involved 40 women suffering from abdominal obesity to consume a low-calorie diet with either 1 ounce of soybean oil or 1 ounce of coconut oil per day for 12 straight weeks.
The result showed that both groups achieved the same amount of weight loss over those 12 weeks. The group consuming soybean oil showed an increase in waist circumference at the end, but those consuming coconut oil had a decrease in waist circumference. Another study in 2015 on the benefits of Lauric acid in coconut oil showed that it is a good source of quick energy and is rapidly metabolized.
3. Acts as a Strong, Natural Antimicrobial
Lauric acid is also known to help fight harmful microbes, and its derivative monolaurin have antimicrobial properties that fight against viruses, fungi, and gram-positive bacteria. This means that Lauric acid is helpful in reducing your risk of suffering from diseases like inflammatory acne, candida, as well as MRSA, an anti-bacterial-resistant staph infection.
MCT Oil and Ketosis
MCT oils behave like carbohydrates or glucose when they are metabolized in the body, instead of acting like a fat. This is great for the body, since it prefers to use glucose as fuel, instead of fat. MCT oils don’t travel through the lymphatic system, and they are sent straight to the liver, where they release energy and are processed like glucose. They also create ketones, which are essential in nourishing the body, and acting as another fuel source.
The great thing about MCT oils is that they don’t make the liver work hard to convert them into fuel, which is in the form of ketones. The brain uses ketones as a fuel source, to generate ATP energy for the body, which is responsible for moving every muscle in the body. The ketogenic diet is also regularly discussed a lot these days. This diet is designed to help the body function on ketones instead of glycogen, which puts you in the Ketosis state.
MCT oils are pure gold for people who are already practicing a low-carb diet or a ketogenic diet, because it helps provide them with all the benefits of the ketones without having to follow the diet. This has helped professional athletes, who have high-intensity training sessions to follow a diet consistent of low carbohydrates and higher fat. MCT oils act as an important energy source and help individuals find the fuel they need to perform even the most intense workouts.
MCT Oil Health Benefits for Weight Management
There are a lot of scientific studies that have covered the many benefits of MCTs, and what they offer when made part of any weight management regimen. There are many potential reasons and benefits associated with MCT oils, but the biggest benefit is the effect they have on Leptin receptors. It helps promote satiety, which leads to a reduced calorie consumption, and improved insulin response.
MCT oils also tend to convert quickly into caloric energy, which means they aren’t stored as healthy fats on the body. A lot of people in the scientific community also believe that MCT oils help the body produce more ketones, which essentially provides you with the ketogenic diet benefits, but without cutting down your carbohydrates. There is no denying that MCTs are regarded among the best fats that you should include in your diet, because of its ability to convert into quick energy, and the thermogenic effect it has on the body.
How to Use MCT Oil?
There are a lot of different ways you can use MCT oils in your diet, and a lot of people consume them like a supplement by mixing them into drinks or taking them straight from the spoon. However, there are various ways you can consume MCT oils with your diet. The best methods are using coconut oil, MCT oil, and emulsified MCT oil, so that you can take advantage of all the benefits within.
You can use and enjoy MCT oil in various ways. Since they are so beneficial for the mind, body, and your overall health, we are going to reveal the best ways to use MCT oil. Here are some of them:
1. Cooking and baking at high temperatures:
When you are cooking or baking at high temperatures, you should use Ghee (clarified butter). It has a higher smoking point than coconut oil, along with less MCT content as well.
2. Cooking and baking at medium temperatures:
When cooking or baking at medium temperatures, you should use coconut oil, because it has a lower smoking point, and less MCT content than butter or ghee.
3. Mixing and blending with un-emulsified fats at medium temperatures:
When mixing or blending with an un-emulsified fat at medium temperature, you should use MCT oil because it has a low smoking point, along with high concentrations of Lauric acid.
4. Stirring into any substance at any temperature:
When stirring into any substance at any temperature, you should use MCT oil, because it mixes well and has lower concentrations of Lauric acid than coconut oil.
You can save a lot of time by mixing MCT oils with traditional grass-fed butter in coffee. The fat molecules from the butter will start to separate and rise to the top, and because MCT oils taste and act as creamers, you can consume them with your coffee every day. One of the best things about MCT oils is that you can add them or mix them into anything like:
Coconut-based whipped cream
The good news is that the possibilities are endless, because MCT oil looks, tastes, and acts like a highly concentrated version of coconut. The fact that it has a neutral taste, works in its favor, because then you can blend or mix it into virtually anything.
The great thing about MCT oils is that they have very few risks and a lot of benefits attached with them. It also contains fatty acids that promote weight loss, improve your gut environment, and increase feelings of fullness in the body. MCTs are also an outstanding energy source, while they have properties for fighting bacteria, managing diabetes, and protecting the heart. It has also been known to fight autism, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease.
The key takeaway is that medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are special fatty acids that come with a wide range of benefits. It is highly recommended to make MCT oils a regular part of your everyday diet, since they can help transform your energy levels, and aid in weight loss. However, don’t think of MCT oils as some miracle oil. You must use them properly and in collaboration with a proper exercise routine and a healthy lifestyle to take advantage of its amazing benefits.