What Are MCTs and How Can They Benefit Your Life?
Have you seen the letters MCT floating around the internet or on food labels at the grocery store and wondered what they were? You’re not alone. MCTs are another recent functional food trend, often found on blog posts about weight loss, the suddenly popular ketogenic diet, or are debated as being a healthy fat or not. Educating yourself about what are MCTs can help you make informed decisions about incorporating them into your diet.
What Does MCT Stand For?
First, it’s important to know what MCTs actually are. It stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which is a form of saturated fats that is absorbed differently in the human body than most other fats. Whereas most fats are absorbed via micelle-absorption in the small intestines and absorbed into the lymphatic system, MCTs passively diffuse from the GI tract into the portal system and are readily oxidized in the liver. This means your body uses MCTs differently and absorbs them quite rapidly compared to other forms of fat, which can lead to different health implications when using them to replace other fats in your diet.
MCTs are also sometimes used to treat malnutrition or fat-malabsorption patients, as they do not require energy to absorb, use or store in the human body.
What are the Health Benefits of MCTs? Are MCTs Good For You?
Some studies have shown that MCTs¹ can help the human body burn extra calories and oxidize more fat compared to long-chain fatty acids, and has therefore been suggested as a useful weight-loss aid. Animal and human studies² have also suggested they have a faster satiety impact compared to long-chain fatty acids, meaning they may fill you up faster compared to other fats (aka they keep you fuller longer). This is why they are often praised for their potential to help people lose and maintain weight. Such claims about MCTs and weight-loss are accepted by some but still seen as controversial to others.
Moreover, they have been studied as part of a ketogenic diet³ used to treat epilepsy, Alzheimer’s 4 and Parkinson’s disease, and there is some data to support its potential use in such diets for extreme illnesses.
Regardless, MCTs offer the human body a readily and easily digestible dense source of energy, which, when incorporated into the diet, like all fats, can support satiety, which can help keep constant hunger at bay.
Where Can I Find MCTs?
They are found in coconut oil and palm oil, and to a small degree, in dairy products. Today, concentrated MCT oils are sold as dietary supplements, offering consumers a concentrated way to incorporate these oils into their foods and beverages. Whether you’re looking to stay full or simply want to change up your plant-based protein game, the Nuzest Clean Lean Protein Functional Flavors in Coffee Coconut + MCT is a smart incorporation to any diet.