MCTs: the fat to help you lose fat
Our fitness consultant George Farrah recommends: if you want to improve your workout performance, drink a teaspoon of MCTs daily, preferably on an empty stomach. This will help convert subcutaneous fat into energy.
What is MCT?
MCTs stands for “medium-chain triglycerides”. The term "triglycerides" just means "fats". Fats and their derivatives are chains of carbon atoms. The fats we consume are made up of long chains of 13 to 21 atoms. When the number of atoms ranges from 6 to 12, these are medium-chain triglycerides. Their main difference from long-chain fats is that they are easily absorbed by the liver: the shorter the carbon chain, the faster the conversion into energy or ketone bodies.
The properties of MCTs are best exemplified with regard to weight loss:
- they contain 10% fewer calories than long-chain fats,
- switching to MCTs increases the amount of calories burned per day,
- consumption of MCTs is associated with decreased appetite,
- MCTs should be used instead of regular fats, NOT in addition to them. Coconut oil is the undisputed leader in the amount of MCTs it contains (63%), but it cannot be called an absolute analogue of MCTs. Coconut oil contains 12 carbon atoms, while the true medium-chain triglycerides contain 8 (caprylic) or 10 (capric) carbon atoms. Such oils do not exist in nature but you can buy them in a dietary supplement store.
Few tips on how to use and buy MCTs:
- it is better to start small. Start with half of a teaspoon per day,
- gradually increase it to three tablespoons,
- do not cook with it as heat destroys its benefits,
- remove other oils from your diet,
- control the fat content of the meat you eat and make sure your daily protein intake is at least one and a half gram per kilogram of body weight,
- high-quality MCTs do not have any specific smell and taste,
- when buying, give preference to MTCs with caprylic acid (C8),
- a good option would be a combination of caprylic (C8) and capric (C10) acids,
- you should avoid caproic acid (C6): its taste and smell is not at all what you might like,
- contraindications: pregnancy and liver disease.
Remember: MCTs are a biologically active food supplement, so consult a doctor or a sports nutritionist before use.