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MCT Oil: Can the Keto Diet Staple Boost Energy and Weight Loss?

Thanks, in part, to —a mix of toxin-free coffee beans, ‘Brain Octane Oil,’ and grass-fed butter or ghee—MCT oil (the stuff in that Brain Octane Oil) has become the trendy new product on the nutrition scene.

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Proponents of MCT oil—who typically add the stuff to coffee, salad dressings, or smoothies—claim it can help keep you feel full, lose weight, provide energy, and more. Because it’s pure fat, many lovers of the ultra-low carb ketogenic diet use MCT oil to up their fat intake.

But what exactly is MCT oil, and how does it differ from all of the other trendy oils on the market? We combed the research and touched base with nutrition experts to dig in. Here, what MCT oil is made of, how it’s used, what the benefits of this buzzy oilreallyare, and whether or not you should add it to your diet.

What is MCT oil?

Simply put, MCT oil is a type of fat that can be found in full-fat dairy, coconut oil (which is about 45 to 50 percent MCTs), and palm kernel oil, says Melissa Majumdar, RD, a senior dietitian at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

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A quick primer about fatty foods and oils: Many of them are packed with chemicals called fatty acids. Fatty acids are categorized by how long the chains of fats (aka, triglycerides) are and where their double bonds are located, explains Majumdar.

We know, it’s a little science-y, but stick with us. MCT oil is a collection of highly-concentrated fatty acids called medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). “MCTs have 6 to 12 carbon molecules, where a long-chain triglyceride would contain more than 12,” she explains. Long-chain triglycerides can be found in your typical “American” foods, like butter and bacon.

While you can find MCTs in some foods, it can also be found as a dietary supplement—say, Brain Octane Oil or straight up MCT oil—that contains a high concentration of MCTs, says Jordan Badger, RD, a dietitian at Boston University’s Sargent Choice Nutrition Center. On its own in product form, MCT oil is simply concentrated MCTs while other oils, like coconut oil, contain MCTs as well as other fats, says Badger.

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MCT oil benefits

We looked at the research and consulted experts on the whether or not the benefits of MCT oil are legit. Here’s what to know about the most popular claims:

Fast energy

Compared to long-chain triglycerides, short- and medium-chain triglycerides are more easily absorbed and digested, entering circulation faster, explains Badger. “This allows the body’s cells and muscles to efficiently convert the consumed fat into a source of energy,” says Badger. That’s why you often hear big time athletes touting the power of MCTs and fat as fuel during high-intensity exercise.

But studies showing that MCT oil istrulyeffective in improving athletic performance is lacking, says Badger. Someresearchfinds that MCTs can turn on genes involved in synthesizing new mitochondria (the “powerhouse” of the cells) and boost metabolism, thus upping exercise performance. But otherresearchhas found MCTs don’t actually do so much when it comes to helping you gain an edge in your workout.

Weight loss

Again, MCTs are easily digested due to their shorter length. “In some research they’ve been shown to help increase satiety hormones, potentially reduce body weight and belly fat, and increase metabolism,” saysCynthia Sass, MPH, RD, CSSD, a performance dietitian based in New York and Los Angeles.

But Majumdar notes that effects are likely modest at most. Onestudy, for example, found that people lost about 1 pound of weight when substituting long-chain triglycerides with MCTs. And know this: A little bit goes a long way. “MCTs contain 8.25 calories per gram, meaning they are a calorie-dense food,” says Majumdar. (Proteins and carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, for comparison.) “If extra calories and extra fat are not needed, MCTs could cause weight gain.”

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GI issues

If you’re suffering from digestive or absorption issues or have a chronic fat-soluble vitamin deficiency (such as ), a registered dietitian might actually suggest incorporating MCTs into your diet. “MCT oils are metabolized and transported without the need for bile salts, so are often used when digestion or absorption are compromised,” says Majumdar. But remember, this is something that you’d want to explore with a professional such as a registered dietitian, she notes.

Neurological conditions

Here’s one thingscience has has shown: When used under the supervision of a medical professional, MCT oil can play a role in the management of neurological conditions such as epilepsy and other seizure disorders, says Badger.

But it’s too soon to call MCT oil a cure all for brain health. While you may have seen reports that coconut oil—and the MCTs in it—could play a role in preventing against and even treating Alzheimer’s disease, many of MCT oil’s reported health benefits aren’t entirely backed by science, Badger says.

With Alzheimer’s disease, brain cells called neurons stop functioning and glucose (a main energy source) can struggle to reach the brain. So, the theory goes that people with Alzheimer’s might benefit from another form of energy that MCTs provide. Unfortunately, what little evidence we have on MCTs and cognition is inconclusive.

So should you take MCT oil?

bulletproof coffee, blended with organic grass fed butter and MCT coconut oil, paleo, keto, ketogenic drink breakfast
Getty ImagesThitareeSarmkasat
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Including healthy oils in a diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats is always a good idea, notes Badger. It provides your body with vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients you need to protect against chronic disease.

And in addition to other healthful fats (think: extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and tree nuts) MCT oil is fine to use, says Sass. If it’s not overused, MCT oil seems to be well-tolerated, too, she says.

Just keep in mind that overdoing it with MCT oil could potentially lead to some side effects, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and an upset stomach. MCT oil shouldn’t be your only fat source, you don’t need to add it to every meal, and you shouldn’t consider it a magic health bullet, Sass notes. Bulletproof evensuggests starting with just 1 teaspoonof their Brain Octane Oil.

It’s also worth the reminder that it’s best to touch base with your doctor or a registered dietitian before addinganykinds of supplements to your diet. And if you’re seeking out MCT oil for a specific health concern such as epilepsy or digestion issues, always consult with a medical or nutritional professional.

The bottom line: Eating whatever you like and just adding MCT oil to coffee probably won't improve your health, and can add extra calories to your diet if you’re not careful. “MCT oil coffee is better than a low-fat muffin made with refined sugar and white flour, but what you eat the remainder of the day matters, too,” says Sass.






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Date: 10.12.2018, 15:01 / Views: 74542