MCT oil is blowing up the health industry as more and more evidence is coming to light about its many health benefits. People are adding it to their morning coffee and smoothies, including it in their meals, but can this fat really help you lose weight?
Gone are the days where fat is seen as bad for you, and rather it is now seen as important to include in your diet. Even better, it can actually help you lose weight! However, it is important to include the right type of fat in your diet. Some fats, such as trans fats found in processed food, are still really bad for you. You want to give these fats a miss on any diet plan you follow.
Then there are some fats which are really good for you. This is where MCT oil comes in. This type of fat is scientifically known as a medium-chain triglyceride. This means that it contains medium-length chains of triglycerides – a type of fat that is used by the body for energy. This shorter length helps it to be more easily digested which imparts many health benefits. When considering MCT oil for weight loss, research is definitely on your side. And its neutral taste makes it easy to include in your diet.
What Exactly Is MCT Oil?
“MCT” stands for medium-chain triglycerides. There are a few different types of fats, most of which are comprised of triglycerides. How these fats interact with your body comes down to their structure. Fats with a shorter tail composition are more easily processed by the body and offer more anti-inflammatory health benefits.
These medium-chain triglycerides are naturally found in coconuts, palm oil and dairy foods. There are four different types:
- C6 – Caproic Acid
- C8 – Caprylic Acid
- C10 – Capric Acid
- C12 – Lauric Acid
The popular use of MCT oil for weight loss comes down to their shorter tail composition which means they are easily broken down by the body and less likely to be stored as fat. MCTs also help the body produce ketones which are effective at burning fat. However, not all of the above-mentioned MCTs are as effective in producing ketones as others, which is the case with coconut oil – another popular fat making waves on the diet scene. As MCT oil is often derived from coconuts, it is important not to confuse the two.
MCT Oil Vs. Coconut Oil
While coconut oil contains a high amount of MCTs – about 62% – it also contains many other different strains of fat, some of which do not provide as many health benefits and are not as effective for weight loss. On the other hand, MCT oil has been specially extracted to isolate the MCTs from the rest of the oil, be it coconut oil or palm oil. This means you are getting a more pure, concentrated form of MCTs without some of the other strains of fat which have fewer health benefits, and even no weight loss benefits.
While MCT oil is generally produced from Caprylic Acid and Capric Acid, which have been shown to be converted to ketones without being stored as fat, coconut oil contains a high concentration of Lauric Acid which, while an MCT, acts like a long-chain triglyceride (LCT). This means it takes longer for the body to break it down and use it for energy. Pure MCT oil is broken down right away by the liver so it provides an instant energy boost.
So How Exactly Can MCT Oil Help You Lose Weight?
There are a few ways that MCT oil is beneficial for weight loss. As mentioned, these medium-chain triglycerides contain fewer calories and are processed by the body in a way that utilizes them easily and quickly for energy. This means they will not be stored by the body as fat. Research has also found that MCT oil increases the production of two hormones, peptide YY and leptin, which help the body feel full. By keeping you satiated you are less likely to overeat. MCT oil has also been found to provide benefits to the lining of your gut. By promoting the growth of good bacteria in the gut, it can improve digestion which can also help you lose weight.
Feeling hungry and low on energy is one of the biggest reasons people fail when trying to lose weight. MCT oil can help reduce cravings and help increase feelings of satiety which helps while you are going through ketosis.
The Keto Diet
MCT oil is at the front and center of the Keto Diet, which is the hottest diet at the moment. It seems to be everywhere you look with many celebrities endorsing this way of eating, for good reason. However, it’s more accurate to call it a lifestyle as opposed to a diet, as it will change the way you view food on the whole.
The Keto Diet is all about cutting down your intake of carbs while increasing your intake of fats. The idea of eating a high amount of fat does not sound like the best way to lose fat, but it actually gives the body an alternative energy source which means that the body will be burning fat to use for energy.
On a traditional diet where carbohydrates are eaten, the body converts this into glycogen to be used as energy. However, any glycogen that is not used will be stored in the body as fat. When the body is deprived of this energy source it will need to find an alternative. When fat is consumed, it is converted into ketones by the liver which are then used by the body for energy. This whole process is called ketosis and is the goal of the Keto Diet. When your body is in ketosis, there is a drastic increase in the body’s ability to burn fat, including existing fat stores, which results in weight loss and other health benefits.
MCT Oil And Ketosis
When your body first goes into ketosis, you may experience certain symptoms such as tiredness and fogginess. This is because most of the fat you are consuming on the Keto Diet consists of long-chain fatty acids which are found in nuts, meat, fish and avocados. It takes longer for the body to digest these fats and utilize them for energy and so your brain and body will be somewhat deprived of essential energy to function normally. The inclusion of MCTs can help rectify this as they are easier to digest and provide your body with almost instant energy. So, essentially, MCT oil helps your body through the ketosis process.
MCT oil also helps increase the production of ketones in the body which speeds up the fat-burning process of ketosis.
Choosing The Best MCT Oil For Weight Loss
MCT oil is easily absorbed by the body with the majority of it being used for energy immediately – without it being stored first. It is also low in calories which is why using MCT oil for weight loss is so popular – you get a low-calorie energy boost. As already mentioned, you do not get MCT oil naturally on its own, it is extracted and isolated from various sources. So choosing the right MCT oil is very important. Coconuts contain the highest concentration of MCTs and seem to be the most popular source. However, palm oil is another common source of MCT oil.
Not only are coconuts the best source of MCTs, they are also the most environmentally friendly source. While palm oil is cheaper to manufacture, it has led to the destruction of rainforests which has resulted in the displacement of certain animals such as Orangutans who need this natural habit for their survival. Since coconut trees are only grown in sandy areas, they do not compete with rainforests, which makes them less impactful on the environment. Take into consideration the effect your purchases have on the environment.
Other Benefits Of MCT Oil
Using MCT oil for weight loss is its most popular use, but MCT oil also offers many other health benefits.
- It can provide an instant energy source which also helps fuel the brain. This helps clear brain fog, which is especially beneficial when starting on the ketogenic diet.
- MCT oil helps to suppress appetite. MCT oil helps you feel fuller for longer which means you can go longer between meals without the urge to snack. This is because of the MCT oil’s ability to increase the production of ketones in the body which decrease the hunger hormones.
- MCT oil is easier for the body to digest as the shorter chain length is easier for the body to absorb, therefore it is utilized right away without being stored as fat first.
- MCT oil benefits the health of the gut by increasing the amount of good bacteria to grow there.
- Boosts performance. Research has shown that MCT oil can increase endurance, helping you to exercise for longer.