With the rise in popularity of Ketogenic – or Keto – diets, more people than ever are interested in MCT oil. What it is and whether it can benefit your health; find out in this article!
What is MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a food supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). It’s usually sourced from coconut or palm kernel oil, which both contain MCT. A process called fractionation separates MCT from the original oil and concentrates it. If you have paid attention to trends within the health and wellness industry in the past years, the hype around coconut oil will not have surpassed you; and the science behind the hailed benefits of the oil lies within its naturally high content of MCTs.
Let’s get chemical!
Fats are composed of a series of fatty acids, which are linked together in a chain. These chains can be long, medium or short, and determine the state of the fat at room temperature. All fats are not created equal - MCT tend to be absorbed by your body more quickly than long-chain triglycerides (LCT). This means, they are efficiently converted into a source of fuel that your cells can then convert into energy. LCT on the other hand, rather than being burned for energy, get stored as fat and contribute to weight gain, thereby increasing the risk factors associated with obesity and heart disease.
Normally, our cells burn glucose as a source of fuel to generate energy. However, when glucose levels fall short, ketones provide an instant alternative fuel. Ketones are the chemicals that the liver produces when it breaks down fats. Due to their fast absorption, MCTs can be sent directly from the gut to the liver, where they are converted into ketones. Recent research shows that like glucose, ketones also cross the blood-brain barrier and may be utilised by brain cells as a source of fuel.
Does MCT Oil have health benefits?
Research on MCT oil is mixed – some studies have not come up with conclusive results, while others have determined that MCT oil may help with weight loss. It can do so in various ways, these include:
- Lower energy density: MCTs provide around 10% fewer calories than LCTs
- Increase fullness: Compared with LCTs, consuming MCTs result in greater increases in the hormones that help reduce appetite and increase feelings of fullness
- Fat storage: As mentioned before, MCTs are absorbed and digested more rapidly than LCTs and are therefore used as energy rather than being stored as body fat
- Burn calories: MCTs may increase the body’s ability to burn fat and calories
- Greater Fat Loss: An MCT-rich diet may cause greater fat burning and fat loss than a diet high in LCTs
Apart from helping with weight loss, MCT oil can be consumed as an immediate source of energy. This is especially relevant for endurance athletes, people on a ketogenic diet, or during intermediate fasting. For the latter, an MCT is useful between meals during your eating window, as it can help generate a feeling of satiety, distract from unhealthy snacks and help bolster energy until the next mealtime.
Introducing True MCT Oil, by Ancient and Brave
Ancient and Brave is a leader in sustainable and pure food supplements and with True MCT Oil, they have created a versatile product that can be easily incorporated into your lifestyle. It’s available in a 500ml bottle or in sachets for on the go.
True MCT Oil is extracted from coconut oil from sustainable sources using pure steam distillation and gentle hydrolysis – without the use of solvents or chemicals.
It’s odour- and tasteless and can be used for low-temperature baking or cooking. Many people opt to drizzle it on their sandwich, salad or soup or simply straight from the spoon. You could also add it to your freshly-brewed Coffee + Collagen or Cacao + Collagen for a powerful bulleted drink.
MCT oil should not be used for frying as this method of cooking is too hot and is likely to denature the medium- chain triglycerides.