MCT oil is on trend and for all the right reasons. MCT oil is said to boost energy, help shed pounds, and improve brain health. Here is what you need to know about the fat and while it will do only good for your brain, energy, and body weight (Yes, it’s true!).
What is MCT oil?
“MCTs are ‘medium-chain triglycerides’, a form of saturated fatty acid that is found naturally in fat-containing foods such as coconut oil, butter from grass-fed cows, cheeses, palm oil, and whole milk products,” explains Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of Ancient Nutrition and DrAxe.com.
MCTs are actually what have given coconut oil its glowing reputation – 62-65% of coconut oil’s fatty acids are MCTs. Realizing the potential of MCTs as a reliable source of energy, cognitive function, and even weight loss, producers are now separating MCTs from ingredients such as coconut oil, and selling MCT oil alone in its pure form.
What Benefits Does MCT Oil Have?
“Because of how fats are metabolized once consumed, MCTs are said to be easier to digest than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). This doesn’t mean that LCTs (like omega-3s) are unhealthy and should be avoided— it just means that MCTs have an advantage when it comes to providing easy-to-use energy for the body,” Dr. Axe explains. “There’s evidence that certain sources of MCTs, such as coconut oil, support your gut environment, help increase immunity against harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites, and contain antioxidant properties which gives MCTs anti-inflammatory abilities. In my opinion, MCT oil is 'legit' because it provides many of the same benefits as foods that contain MCTs, offering a concentrated source of healthy fatty acids that can be hard to get from your diet.”
Dr. Becky Campbell, a board-certified doctor of natural medicine (DNM) and author of a new book, "The 30-Day Thyroid Reset Plan: Disarming the 7 Hidden Triggers That are Keeping You Sick," breaks down the positive effects further. Campbell outlines the three main takeaways from the consumption of MCT oil: boosted energy, improved brain health, and weight loss support. She says, “One of the most popular reasons to add MCT oil to your diet is to help support energy levels. Since the fatty acids in this oil are used as a quick source of energy, many athletes turn to MCT oil before an athletic event.” Meanwhile, “There have been studies looking at the benefits of MCT oil and those who are battling Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation has stated that MCT oil may provide short-term benefits to those with dementia.”
But how can you lose weight by eating fat? We’ve been raised to fear saturated fat, but now researchers and fitness gurus are suggesting otherwise, to a degree. The theory is that by consuming a quick-digesting fat, like MCT oil, the body absorbs and metabolizes it for fuel instead of storing it as fat on the body.
Campbell clarifies this point: “While consuming fat may sound counterproductive when you are attempting to lose fat, healthy fats are a very important part of shedding weight and staying healthy. Remember that MCT oil is less likely to be stored as fat since it is used for energy. This oil may also play a role in suppressing appetite since fats are more likely to keep you feeling full for longer periods of time.”
Dr. Axe continues, “While in the past people eating traditional diets likely got plenty of MCTs from foods like butter, raw milk and coconut oil/milk, it’s believed that many people today eating ‘Western diets’ don’t consume much MCTs. For example, in many instances traditional foods like coconut oil and grass-fed beef have been replaced by processed vegetable oils, ‘muscle meat’ like chicken breast or turkey, and low-fat dairy products.”
Where to Buy and How to Consume MCT Oil
Now that the benefits of MCT oil are clear, the next question arises: where do we get it and how do we take it? Who better to learn from than Nutiva’s founder and chief visionary officer John Roulac? Nutiva’s Organic MCT Oil provides a standard for all MCT oil brands. Roulac lists attributes that matter and ultimately differentiate one MCT oil from the next: “Nutiva Organic MCT Oil is different from other MCT oils on the market because it’s USDA Certified Organic and doesn’t use harsh chemicals in the manufacturing process. Nutiva was actually the first to debut a certified organic MCT oil, and unlike many non-organic MCT oils, Nutiva Organic MCT Oil is hexane free and made without any chemicals or filler oils leaving no harsh aftertaste. Nutiva Organic MCT Oil is also crafted using a patented organic process that gently removes the fats in virgin coconut oil that are solid at room temperature, resulting in a clean, 93 percent MCT oil with a light coconut flavor.”
The takeaway: buy Nutiva’s Organic MCT oil or look for a brand that is labeled as “organic”, “hexane-free”, and free of fillers. MCT should be bought in its purest form.
Roulac says there are a few ways to take MCT oil: “It’s delicious on its own, so you can enjoy it by the spoonful if that’s what you prefer. Nutiva Organic MCT Oil has a very light coconut-y flavor, so it’s not too overpowering to enjoy alone. If you don’t want to eat it by the spoonful, this versatile ingredient can be added to smoothies or your morning cup of coffee, drizzled over salads instead of dressing, and so much more.”
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