Ketosis, weight loss, brain function … the benefits of MCT Oil
By Kathryn Batty, Qualified Nutritionist
Would you put oil in your morning coffee if you were told you may gain numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management? MCT oil is a trending topic that claims to burn fat and kick start the metabolism of individuals who incorporate the ingredient into their daily routine.
MCT’s or medium-chain triglycerides, are a form of saturated fatty acids. You can find MCTs in healthy fats, such as coconut oil, but high-quality MCT oil contains a more complete panel of the four types of MCTs. Fats are made of connected hydrogen and carbon atoms and are defined by how many carbons they contain. Medium-chain triglycerides contain between 6-12 carbon atoms. The four varieties are caproic (C6:0), caprylic (C8:0), capric (C10:0) and lauric (C12:0) acids.
Compared to other fats, this unique chemical structure allows your body to more easily
break down and digest MCTs before sending them to your liver where they are converted to ketones which help fuel the brain and body for mental and physical performance. This process called Ketosis allows the body to produce fast and sustained energy from good fats rather than from sugar and carbohydrates.
MCT’s are capable of helping you lose weight as they kick start your metabolism and may help you maintain a healthy weight as they give you energy, keep you feeling full for longer and improve insulin sensitivity. By bringing your body into a state of Ketosis by restricting your carb intake and including more high fat foods into your diet – your body in turn burns fat for energy, and produces ketones which it uses to fuel your body.
If you’re new to Ketosis or wanting to find out more about the keto diet – we have you covered here.
MCTs don’t need bile salts to be digested and can pass directly from the digestive system to the blood stream without being modified by digestion like long chain fats. This makes them easier to digest and can be beneficial for those who struggle with digestive problems, fat absorption or lack a gallbladder.
MCTs are a great source of fuel for the brain. They are converted to ketones in the liver and transported to the brain where they are utilised as a source of energy to assist and enhance cognitive function. MCT’s may also be beneficial for supporting hormone balance, gut microbiota and immune health.
My preferred brand for MCT Oil is Melrose. It is made with 100% coconut oil instead of Palm oil ( which is ok so long as it’s sustainably sourced!). The coconuts used in the oil are free of herbicides, pesticides and are sustainable farmed. The range features Kick Start, Pro Plus and Pro Rapid so you can choose which one suits your needs whether you’re looking to improve endurance during training, mental performance or weight loss.
Speak with our qualified naturopaths and nutritionists for further advice on the best MCT oil for you and your body.
Besides from adding to your morning coffee, try using MCT oil in homemade salad dressings or adding it to smoothies and shakes. It’s easy to slip into a meal or drink, as it’s taste-less and a serving size ranges between 1 – 2 tablespoons daily.
Can you cook with MCT Oil?
The saturated fatty acids contained in MCT’s makes them very stable, therefore, you can actually cook with them. However … the smoke point of MCTs is much lower than some other cooking oils such as coconut, butter, ghee and extra virgin olive oil.
Why does this matter? This higher the smoke point – the better the oils are for cooking at higher temperatures. A lower smoke point oil will burn quicker – often giving off a burnt taste to your foods plus stripping the oil of it’s beneficial nutrients. Overheating can also give off harmful free radicals as well.
So we suggest only using to cook with foods at a lower temperature.
Ultimately it is better to use MCTs in smoothies, beverages or added to baking, salads (in dressings) or to cooked food after cooking.
One of our favourite ways to add MCT oil into the day, is in a smoothie, a bulletproof coffee or try this delicious & guilt free hot chocolate!
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