Bulletproof coffees have grown in popularity in the last few years. Many bulletproof coffee recipes include MCT oil. However, many people drinking MCT oil bulletproof coffees don't actually know what MCT oil is and what the benefits of including it in the diet can be.
What Is MCT Oil?
Medium chain triglycerides (MCT) are a type of dietary triglycerides made of fatty acids that are 6 to 10 carbon atoms in length (hence the name medium).
MCTs are found naturally in coconuts, with more than 50% of the fat in the coconut oil coming from MCTs. MCT oil is then made from the hydrolysis, filtering and re-esterification of coconut oil.
How Does MCT Oil Work In The Body?
The smaller molecular weight of MCTs means they are broken down in the body rapidly and therefore absorbed into the blood stream quicker than long chain triglycerides (LCT).Also unlike LCTs, MCTs are absorbed in one go instead of 2 peaks. Both of these are what cause MCT oil to increase satiety (feeling of fullness) immediately after the meal.
What Are The Benefits Of MCT Oil?
As MCTs have a shorter chain length they do not need bile to break them down to pass from the gut to the liver like LCTs do.
Once in the liver, fats are usually broken down to be either be used as fuel or stored as fat. However, as MCTs easily enter your cells without being broken down, they can be used as an immediate source of energy.
Ketogenesis is the process in the body where ketone bodies are produced for fuel, and is the preferred fuel by most tissues in the body and brain cells.
MCTs then converted into ketones in the liver and therefore help your body to get into a state of ketosis quicker.
This is particularly beneficial to people following the ketogenic diet.
Having a diet rich with MCT oil can increase fat-burning and weight loss compared to diets containing an equivalent amount of standard dietary fat.
Studies have even shown that they have a particularly positive effect on fat around the midsection of the body (belly fat), which is a risk factor for heart health.
MCT oil also promotes weight loss as it decreases calorie intake in the diet due to an increased feeling in satiety which leads to a longer time between meals. This increased feeling of fullness is caused by the the stimulation of satiety hormones, leptin and cholecystokinin, being secreted into the bloodstream.
MCT oil has roughly 10% fewer calories than LCTs, which are found in foods such as olive oil, nuts and avocados.
Finally, gut environment is very important for weight loss and MCT oil may help optimise the growth of good bacteria and support the gut lining.
The ketones we produce when we ingest MCT oils increase mitochondria efficiency by increasing ATP yield (ATP is what our cells use for energy).
MCT oil could also help reduce the effects of Alzheimer's disease. This is because Alzheimer’s disease impairs your brain’s ability to use sugar. Studies have shown that MCT oil is beneficial to people with Alzheimer's disease as the MCT oil can provide energy to the glucose starved brain.
Manage Blood Sugar Levels
MCT oil can be very beneficial for people with diabetes. Firstly as they reduce fat storage and increase fat burning, which can help to manage the condition.
A study found that that when 10 people with diabetes were injected with insulin, they needed 30% less sugar to maintain normal blood sugar levels when they consumed MCTs, compared to LCTs.
How Can I Include MCT oil in my diet?
MCT oil can be consumed with food, drink or in supplements.
The most popular drink is in the form of a Bulletproof coffee, where MCT oil is added to coffee and butter. This can be a tricky drink to make as the oil and butter have to be blended with the coffee to make a smooth consistency. However, our keto Nespresso capsules have MCT oil already blended into them, meaning you can have a delicious bulletproof coffee at the push of a button.
To consume MCT oil in food, it can be used to replace some of the oil in a homemade salad dressing or partial replacement of coconut oil in baking.
However you include MCTs into your diet, just a small amount everyday can come with huge potential health benefits.
By Alex Warmisham ANutr - Nutritionist at Rejuvenation Water