All saturated fats are not equal. Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) are not as harmful in your diet as Long Chain Triglycerides (LCT) and in fact have some significant health promoting properties. LCTs are made of Long Chain Fatty Acids (LCFA) which are hard to digest and generally end up stored in your fat cells or clogging your arteries. MCTs are made of medium length fatty acids (MCFA) and are processed in our bodies quite differently. Because of their shorter length, MCTs are more water soluble, more easily digested, and are quickly burned as energy instead of stored as fat. Some examples of MCFAs are: lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid.
Lauric acid is converted in our bodies into monolaurin which our immune system uses to fight viruses such as herpes, influenza and HIV, and various pathogenic bacteria including Helicobacter pylori which causes stomach ulcers.
MCT Oil can even help you lose weight. Adding the healthier MCT fat to your diet reduces your appetite and specifically fat cravings which may lead to eating too much of the wrong kinds of fat. And, not only are MCFAs not stored as fat but they promote thermogenesis and actually increase the burning of stored body fat. Athletes use MCT supplements along with certain carbs before a workout to provide energy and endurance.
MCTs in your diet improve cholesterol levels and reduce atherosclerosis. MCTs are particularly beneficial for diabetics if used to replace the inflammation promoting Omega 6 oils like sunflower and canola. MCTs have been shown to lower glucose levels, increase insulin secretion, improve insulin sensitivity and raise glucose tolerance.
MCTs are abundant in coconut oil and butter. Pure MCT oil is now available, distilled from coconut oil. MCT oil can be taken in capsule form or by the spoonful, or used in salad dressings, in smoothies or in other foods, but should not be used for frying.
This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.