A GOOD kind of FAT!

A GOOD kind of FAT!

Now that’s not something you hear every day is it?  The stigma about all fat being bad is slowly going away.  We hear about good fats like fish oil and flaxseed oil that are high in Omega 3s.  We know that nuts, avocados and peanut butter are okay in moderation, but what have you heard about MCT oil?  Until recently, I hadn’t heard anything about them.  I’ve heard that coconut oil is fairly healthy, so I’ve done a little research and found that MCT oil (found in coconut oil) has some amazing benefits.  Let me give you the scoop as I understand it.  I would love to hear comments about your experience with MCT oil.

MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides.  LCTs, or Long Chain Triglycerides are the predominant form of fat in the American diet.  They have 12 to 18 carbon links compared to 6 to 10 carbon links found in MCTs.  This shorter chain length gives MCTs some advantages over those Long Chain Triglycerides.  The most popular source of MCT would probably be coconut oil.  Coconut oil consists of about 66% MCT.

Here are a few of the advantages I’ve found in my research.

1) MCTs contain about 10% fewer calories than LCTs (okay 10% is not a big deal, but it’s something).

2) The shorter chain length means that MCTs are absorbed faster and can quickly be burned as fuel or metabolized (almost like a carbohydrate). So, instead of being stored as fats, they support muscles and organs as a source of fuel for them.  MCT oil has been used by body builders as a quicker way to reach ketosis.  So – without the long scientific explanations of my research, the conclusion is that because MCTs are metabolized better, they are a great choice for anyone who needs more energy, whether that energy would be to recover from surgery or illness, or to enhance your athletic performance, MCT oils, can be beneficial.  In fact they are a great energy source for people on a high-protein, or low carbohydrate diet.

3) MCTs enhance thermo genesis or fat burning.  So, MCTs have fewer calories, they are not as readily stored as fat, they help increase metabolism and fat burning, and they help produce ketones which are one of the two substances which the brain can use for energy (glucose is the other).  So, if you are on a calorie restrictive diet, and feel lower energy because of the lack of carbs (which turn to glucose), MCT can give you a great sustained energy boost.

4) MCTs help suppress appetite.  One study offered 6 healthy male volunteers a low MCT diet, a medium MCT diet, and a high MCT diet.  They found that those on the high MCT diet consumed significantly fewer calories than the other two.

5) MCTs have anti-coagulation effects, so they may be beneficial in preventing atherosclerosis.  They have been shown to lower serum cholesterol in rats and calves.  They also reduce the levels of cholesterol in the liver and other tissues.

6) MCTs have been reported to act as antioxidants and reduce tissue requirements for Vitamin E.

7) MCTs can help slightly lower blood glucose levels – so they may be useful for diabetics or pre-diabetics.

8) MCTs can help enhance immune systems and have been proven useful in treating medical disorders where there is impaired or damaged fat metabolism.

I’m so excited about the possibilities of MCT oil.  One of the cautions mentioned in my research is that you may have some discomfort when you first start to use it.  So – start with small doses (maybe ¼ tsp several times per day, and then increase the dose as you can tolerate it.  I started with a straight tablespoon and didn’t have any ill effects, but then, I have an iron stomach!  Look for MCT oil in our office.  We found a brand that has 100% MCTs instead of just going with coconut oil that is only 66% MCT, and we’re excited to hear about the results from our clients.

If you would like to read further on this subject, here’s one of the articles I found very informative. http://www.nutritionreview.org/library/mcts.html

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