The Health Benefits Of MCTs + The Best Whole Foods Source Of MCTs
Have you ever wondered why coconut oil is hailed as such a healthy fat and become so popular in recent years? This tropical elixir of life has swept the world off its feet. But does it really deserve the praise its been given? You may have seen the term MCTs pop up in various health circles. It's been coined a 'fat-burning fat'. But wait a second! Isn't that an oxymoron? Nope. You read correctly.
Here's The Skinny On FatOnce upon a low-fat time, we were told that all fats were bad. This belief has since been debunked as researchers have studied the wonderful benefits of certain kinds of fats many times over (source). These healthier fats include Omega 3 fatty acids from wild fish, saturated fats from grass-fed livestock, olive oil, grass-fed butter, ghee and of course, coconut oil. Some fats have greater health benefits than others because of their structure. There are 3 main forms of fat: short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain triglycerides. These measurements of length refer to exactly that -- the length of their chemical structure.
Potential Health Benefits Of MCTsThe body digests MCTs differently than it digests short- and long-chain triglycerides. Furthermore, MCTs are pieced into four fatty acids based on the length of their carbon chains:
- Caproic acid (6 carbons)
- Caprylic acid (8 carbons)
- Capric acid (10 carbons)
- Lauric acid (12 carbons)
Other Health Benefits Of MCTsOne of the more significant discoveries surrounding MCTs is their ability to increase mitochondrial function. Your mitochondria are responsible for your body's abiilty to produce energy. The more mitochondria you have working in your cells, the more energy you will be able to use and burn more efficiently. The preferred fuel source of mitochondria is MCTs, not glucose from carbohydrates. Mitochondria utilize MCTs more efficiently (source). MCTs are more rapidly oxidized, which results in greater energy expenditure. This may result in faster satiety and weight control as opposed to a diet high in other fats. Studies suggest the health benefits of MCTs may also include:
- Aid in weight loss (source).
- Lower cholesterol levels compared to a diet high in other fats like soybean oil (source).
- Improve brain function and prevent the onset of Alzheimer's (source).
- Help improve metabolic syndrome and lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity for those with type 2 diabetes (source).