Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Medium Chain Triglycerides(MCT's) The Healthy Weight Loss Nutrient

Studies show that Medium Chain Triglycerides are an effective agent against obesity and can help facilitate weight loss improving your overall health and fitness. As a general rule regarding saturated fat, if a product has 10 grams of fat and 5-8 of those are saturated it is probably a good idea to skip that food item. If 1 or 2 grams are saturated this is a better choice. The one exception to this rule would be organic, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil that has a high content of saturated fat but also is a rich source of MCT’s or medium chain triglycerides that are very good and efficient sources of fuel for energy and are not easily stored by the body as fat.

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a special class of fatty acids that resemble carbohydrates more than fat. As a result, they are more easily absorbed, digested, and utilized as energy. Normal fats and oils contain long-chain fatty acids (LCTs)that are harder to break down by the body and once they are in the bloodstream they are absorbed by fat cells and stored as body fat. In contrast, the medium-chain triglycerides(MCT's)are more water-soluble and are able to enter the bloodstream quicker because of their shorter lengths. Once in the bloodstream, they are transported directly into the liver. Thus, MCT's are an immediately available source of energy and only a tiny percent is converted into body fat. MCT's also facilitate weight loss by stimulating thermogenesis which is the process in which the body generates energy, or heat, by increasing its normal metabolic and fat-burning rate.

MCT’s have been used widely to aid in weight management as the fatty acids found in MCT’s - Caproic (C6), Caprylic (C8), Capric (C10) and Lauric acid (C12) have been shown to improve excess calorie burning. Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid. This MCT is which is also found in mother’s milk, helps regulate metabolism and is being studied for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. I personally know individuals who have lost weight by incorporating MCT's into their diet so regular consumption may aid you in weight loss but you must manage your consumption because there are plenty of calories in coconut oil as well. A good rule would be to use no more than 1-2 tbsp per day. A few ways to use it would be to spread it on whole grain toast or sandwiches, mix in with cooked dishes, spread on vegetables instead of butter.

The bad reputation coconut oil has gotten in the past is the result of the bastardized version of coconut oil which is usually partially or fully hydrogenated coconut oil that is highly refined and detrimental to your well being. The virgin, unrefined, and cold processed variety is the one you want. A final note on coconut oil is that it is good for cooking with because of its ability to withstand higher heat without becoming carcinogenic.

National Institute of Health: Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity.
Medium Chain Triglycerides

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