The NY Post recently reported that people — including Emma Stone and Kourtney Kardashian — add MCT oil to their coffee to lose weight and increase stamina and focus. For those not in the know, medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil is a type of saturated fat found in coconut oil or palm kernel oil. The piece asked dietitians what they thought of the MCT oil trend, and whether it’s a safe and effective way to lose weight. The experts were divided.
While it’s great to see Brain Octane Oil and MCT oil getting some press, there is so much confusion regarding saturated fats in MCT oils and how they are linked to heart health. Most dietitians don’t know that different saturated fats are metabolized differently by the body and have very different health impacts. Similarly, not all MCT oils are the same – some are more effective than others at bestowing certain health benefits. Read on to get clear on what you’re drinking.
MCT oil provides satiating, long-term energy
In the NY Post piece, nutrition coach and personal trainer Danielle DeSimone points out that, due to its chemical structure, MCT oil is digested faster than other fats, such as olive oil. So “MCT oil … helps give us fast, long-lasting energy.” This energy curbs cravings for sugar and carbs — foods that lead to insulin spikes. Research shows that MCT oil fills you up – an obvious benefit for anyone trying to lose weight.
Saturated fat in MCT oil does not cause heart disease
Other experts quoted in the New York Post piece get the science wrong regarding heart health and MCT oil. Mainstream media and some dietitians don’t understand that different saturated fats do different things in the body. When they hear a particular fat is fully saturated, they immediately think “heart attack.” The reality is that saturated fat does not cause heart disease. However, the American Heart Association backed their own investors (big ag and big pharma companies including the Canola Oil Counsel) in a PR blitz to scare people away from coconut oil and other saturated fats.
Also little known: Oil scientists petitioned the regulatory authorities to not include the entire category of MCT oils in the misguided anti-saturated fat campaign years ago because they don’t act like other saturated fats.
Use coconut-derived, U.S.-made MCT oil
MCT oil metabolizes very differently than any other saturated or even polyunsaturated fat. It does not get processed by the liver, and does not easily get stored as fat. The one exception is lauric acid, the cheapest and most commonly available MCT oil, which acts like other saturated fats. That’s why it’s important that you find the best MCT oil you can get your hands on – one that is derived from coconut, not palm, and made in the U.S. Beyond the health benefits of high-quality MCT oil, palm oil processing kills orangutans, and there’s nothing good about that.
Media outlets and dietitians should do basic diligence to understand the difference between the different fats before raising the specter of heart disease.
The secret ingredient to having the most energy and least cravings
The fact is that all fats are not the same. All polyunsaturated fats are not the same. All saturated fats are not the same. It’s your job to know what each type of fat does to your metabolism, what each type of protein, and what each type of carbohydrate does. You need to have the right protein, carbs, and fats in the right amounts. This makes you have the most energy and least cravings.