7 Health Benefits of MCT Oil and How to Use It In The Keto Diet
If you’ve been following the keto diet, you’ve probably heard of MCT oil.
You might have even added it to your smoothies.
But what exactly is MCT oil and how can it benefit you on the keto diet?
What is MCT oil?
MCT oil is a medium-chain triglyceride that contains medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides, which due to their shorter lengths, are easier to digest.
MCT oil is commonly extracted from coconut oil, since nearly half of its contents contain MCTs.
There are 4 different types of MCTs, some with their own set of benefits.
However, MCTs overall have a wide range of health benefits that are not just limited to weight loss.
Top 7 Health Benefits of MCT Oil
1. Weight Loss
There are several ways in which MCT oil promotes weight loss, one of which is the production of two hormones that make you feel fuller: peptide YY and leptin.
A study found that taking 2 tablespoons MCT oil at breakfast kept participants fuller into lunchtime when compared to just taking coconut oil.
MCT oil can reduce your waist line due to in part because it contains 10% less calories than long-chain triglycerides (LCTs), found in olive oil, nuts and avocados.
And since MCT oil is easier to digest, it can promote weight loss in a couple of ways.
The body doesn’t store MCTs as body fat because it can be readily used as an energy source.
Think of shorter-chain triglycerides as your body not having to undergo as many steps in the break-down process compared to longer chains.
The great thing about MCT oil, specifically for keto dieting, is that it can be converted to ketones when the body’s in a low carb state, keeping you in fat-burning ketosis.
Another advantage of MCT oil is that it’s great for gut health.
Gut health, in turn, supports healthy gut fauna (good probiotic bacteria) that supports weight loss.
2. Brain Fuel
Aside from the multitude of ways MCT oil powers weight loss, let’s talk about how it can be used as a major source of brain fuel.
We’ve already discussed how MCT oil is rapidly absorbed by the body due to its short length.
MCTs doesn’t require the need for bile to break it down, altogether skipping this lengthy process.
Instead it goes straight to the liver where it can be used instantly by cells.
The liver is also where MCTs are converted into ketones.
Ketones act as a fuel for your brain since they can readily pass through the blood-brain barrier.
3. Reduce Lactate Accumulation
During exercise, lactate levels rise due to biochemical processes in muscle cells.
Lactate acid is what causes soreness after an intense workout and can lead to a loss of productivity as there’s often too much discomfort to continue exercise.
This is where MCT oil comes to play.
A study found that by taking 1.5 teaspoons MCT oil before exercise, you can lower lactate levels.
The same study found that MCT oil can also help you burn fat instead of carbs, which is crucial for those wanting to lose weight more effectively.
4. Manage Epilepsy, Alzheimer’s Disease and Autism
Ketones have been shown to reduce epileptic seizures, act as a brain energy source for Alzheimer’s patients, and manage autism.
Note: If you intend to use MCT oil to manage these conditions, be sure to talk to a doctor first to evaluate the risks and advantanges.
5. Antimicrobial and Antifungal Properties
Coconut oil has been shown to reduce both bacterial and yeast growth in the lab.
However, more human studies need to be done to properly evaluate its effects.
6. Reduce Risk for Heart Disease
MCTs support weight loss which in turn reduces your risk for heart disease.
Adding MCT oil into your diet can lower your levels of LDL, or “low-density lipoproteins”, and increase your levels of HDL (“high-density lipoproteins”).
In addition, MCT oil has been shown to significantly reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) that’s released due to inflammation and increases your risk of heart disease.
7. Control Blood Sugar and Aid in Management of Diabetes
MCT oil can also help control blood sugar in people with diabetes.
Risks Associated with MCT Oil
There are few risks that come with using MCT oil, but two main drawbacks to consider are
- MCT oil can initiate hunger hormones in some people and
- can lead to fatty liver if taken in abundance.
With that in mind, MCT oil should only be taken as part of your total fat intake, not as a supplement since it is very high in calories.
Ways to Use MCT Oil
MCT oil is a lightly flavored oil you can add to any low-heat recipe (high heat will render it off).
Add it to smoothies, salad dressings, and coffee for a fatty supplement.
Other options include oatmeal, yogurt, protein shakes, and homemade ice cream.
In conclusion, MCT oil can be a great tool for anyone on the keto diet, though it’s not something to be taken in excess.
Do your research, shop organic, and more importantly consult a nutritionist or doctor for any questions you may have about MCT oil and how it can help you in your journey to weight loss.
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