If you’ve ever researched keto or intermittent fasting diets for weight loss, you’ve likely heard about MCT oil. It’s touted for its role in keeping you in ketosis and maintaining a fasted state, and it seems to be a magic fat for everything
So, what does MCT oil do for weight loss – does it help or hinder?
That’s exactly the question we’re going to explore! This article discusses everything you need to know about using MCT to support your weight loss goals – what it is, why it’s good for weight loss, and how to use it.
What exactly is MCT Oil?
MCT is a man-made saturated fatty acid. Pure MCT oil is made in the lab by combining medium chain triglycerides from coconut oil and palm oil. Why not just coconut or just palm? Because regular palm and regular coconut also contain long-chain triglycerides. Coconut oil is a blend of these chains. That’s part of the reason why more and more studies are showing that coconut oil may not be as healthy as you think.
Understanding the power of medium-chain fatty acids comes down to understanding why they are better for you than their long-chain cousins.
The length of medium and long chain triglycerides represents how many carbon molecules are connected. Why are medium-chain better than long-chain? Medium-chain triglycerides (six to eight carbon molecules) digest more quickly and are considered a source of clean fuel for the body and brain. That means they give your body the energy it needs without filling it with a bunch of stuff it doesn’t need – like added sugars and processed ingredients. Longer chains (10 to 12 carbon molecules) take longer to metabolize and are stored as fat in the process.
You may have been trained to fear saturated fats, but researchers and fitness nuts alike suggest that not all saturated fats should have a bad reputation, and that includes the fats found in pure MCT oil. The theory is that by consuming this fast-digesting fat, the body quickly absorbs and metabolizes it for fuel, while more slow-burning long-chain fats such as olive oil, butter, beef fat, palm oil and coconut oil are stored.
This digestive difference may be why MCT oil is the secret fat that makes you healthier. MCT oil is the “super fuel” for your cells because it “boosts fat burning and increases mental clarity”.
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
You may just want to use medium-chain triglyceride oil to lose weight while there are still good reasons to continue using medium-chain triglyceride oil; it’s just plain good for your health. Here are some of the benefits associated with the effects of medium-chain triglycerides.
- Type 2 diabetes: Studies have shown that MCT oil can help reduce insulin resistance, a major cause of diabetes, and it can help people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels under control.
- weight loss: MCT fatty acids can accelerate the weight loss process because it is not stored as body fat. However, it is important to note that MCT oil is only a tool that can support the weight loss process and you still have to be aware of your lifestyle.
- Heart Health: Obviously, losing weight is a good way to help prevent heart disease. The same is true for improving cholesterol levels, and studies have shown that MCTs appear to raise good cholesterol (HDL) while lowering bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in the body.
- Brain Function: MCT oil’s ability to help the brain goes far beyond relieving epilepsy symptoms. Studies have shown that MCTs offer a wide range of potential benefits, from better cognitive function and memory performance, to helping those with autism and those with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Exercise Endurance: Because MCTs can be broken down quickly, they can increase the energy of those who are exercising and working out. They have also been shown to reduce the body’s lactic acid levels; muscles produce lactic acid during strenuous exercise, inducing the cramps and body aches we are all familiar with. MCTs can provide relief and help prolong workouts.
- Overall Health: MCTs appear to have antioxidant properties that are critical in helping to prevent damage to the body caused by oxidation and oxidative stress.
How to Use MCT Oil
Pure MCT oil is a clear, odorless liquid that should be consumed unheated and in its original form. It is unrefined, so it has a low smoke point, similar to flaxseed oil, wheat germ oil and walnut oil, and does not react well to heat. Basically, cooking is not one of the uses of MCT oil.
So, how do you use MCT oil? Add pure oil to coffee, smoothies or salad dressings. It’s easy to slip into a meal or drink without much effort, as serving sizes usually range from ½ to a maximum of 3 tablespoons. Most 100% MCT oils on the market recommend starting with ½ tablespoon to see how your digestive system responds. Too much too fast may cause digestive discomfort. And don’t forget that MCT is still a liquid fat and high in calories – 1 tablespoon is 100 calories.
When do you use MCT oil?
1. In the morning
You can easily consume MCT oil by adding a dash of it to your coffee. The combination with caffeine ensures optimum focus and mental strength. In addition, MCT oil helps you to burn more calories easily and thus lose weight. It is recommended not to take this oil too late in the day. If you use it at night, chances are you will not be able to sleep because MCT oil will give you energy.
2. Before exercise
Athletes often add this oil to their protein shakes before or after a workout. This way, your energy stays on par throughout your workout and you retain enough energy at the end of your workout. For example, you won’t experience a crash in energy levels with MCT oil compared to sugar. If you often feel like snacking between meals, you can also use it throughout the day to soothe your hunger. This can also help you if you are trying to lose weight.
How often can you use MCT oil?
When you first start using MCT oil, it is important to take it in small amounts. It is processed quickly in your body, so you may experience digestive problems when you overuse it. Start with a teaspoon or half a tablespoon initially. As you get used to it you can gradually increase it up to a maximum of 4 to 7 tablespoons per day.
When using a few tablespoons per day, it is best to spread your intake throughout the day as much as possible. Finally, it is important to know that the use of nutritional supplements such as MCT oil is not a substitute for a varied diet.
In the world of fats, MCTs are a star in their own right. Whether it’s cognitive health and immune function, or heart health and exercise performance, they’re pretty much the superstars of the fat world.
But when it comes to weight loss, MCTs perform. They help increase energy expenditure, boost energy levels, and regulate appetite to help you consume less, burn more, and achieve your goals.