MCT Oil versus Coconut Oil: What You Need to Know
There are some clear distinctions when it comes to comparing the benefits of MCT Oil versus Coconut Oil. We break it down.
Firstly, What Is MCT Oil?
The abbreviation ‘MCT’ stands for medium-chained-triglycerides, which is a form of saturated fatty acid. Whereas normally fat is understood as detrimental to your health, MCT’s actually provide many benefits. The fatty acids get their name from the chemical structure, having 6-12 carbons rather than short and long chained acids, which have less than 6, or 13-21 carbons respectively.
Because of the makeup, MCT’s are digested easily and sent straight to the liver where it takes on a thermogenic effect, speeding up the consumer’s metabolism. Long-chained-triglycerides are absorbed more easily, storing fat along the way. MCT’s, however, are considered fuel for our body since it needs to work much harder to break them down.
Besides providing a source of energy, MCT’s also contain antioxidant properties, which provide inflammatory benefits.
What Are The Benefits of MCT Oil?
There are many known benefits of consuming MCT oils, including maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stored body fat, increasing metabolic rate, thinking more clearly, having more energy, balancing hormone levels, improving your mood, fighting bacterial infection and viruses, and helping your body absorb fat-soluble nutrients from other foods.
Because of the preconceived notion that fat is bad for us, many people lack this healthy saturated fat in their everyday diet. The use of fats, and specifically the consumption of MCT supplements, is seen in high-fat diets like the Ketogenic diet.
In this diet, you consume a large amount of healthy fats and cut back on things like carbohydrates, sugars, and proteins. This allows your body to burn a source of energy called ketones, rather than glucose. Continuously burning ketones puts your body into a state called ketosis, making your body a fat burning machine.
The ability of MCT’s to skip over the liver process plays a crucial role in the bypassing of fat storage. While weight loss is a huge part MCT oil benefits, its supplemental benefits are just as important.
What else can MCT do for you?
In consequence of helping to maintain a healthy body weight, a 2010 study published by The Journal of Neutraceuticals and Functional Foods stated that MCT consumption lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease by keeping people from becoming obese.
MCT’s are also proven to improve cognitive ability including thinking more clearly, performing well in work and school, and improving memory problems in those with cognitive disabilities. The fuel provided from the MCT’s feed your brain as well as helps your body to absorb vitamins and nutrients from directed towards cognitive functions.
All of these benefits carry over to gut-health by improving digestion, nutrient absorption, along with its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal elements.
MCT Oil versus Coconut Oil: How do they compare?
Coconut oil is actually a great source of MCT oil, as well as butter, cheeses, palm oil, whole milk, and full-fat yoghurt. The difference between MCT oil and coconut oil is that the benefits are less concentrated in coconut oil than in supplemental pure MCT oil.
In fact, nearly 90% of coconut oil is made up of saturated fats, but only 62-65% of those saturated fats are MCT’s.
There are four different kinds of MCT ranging in carbon molecule makeup. The four are caproic, caprylic, capric, and lauric. Almost 50% of the MCT makeup of coconut oil is lauric acid, and for that reason, some people believe that consuming pure MCT supplements is more beneficial than coconut oil. While pure MCT oil is the gold standard, sometimes you aren’t buying exactly what you think.
To avoid pure MCT oil from becoming solid at room temperature, it might need to be more refined than virgin coconut oil, with this it may lack the lauric acid properties. They may even contain filler oils that add unnecessary fats and manufactured chemicals counteracting the health benefits of the oils pureness.
Therefore, depending on the maker of the pure MCT oil supplements, using coconut oil may or may not be more beneficial when it comes to the medium-chained-fatty acid health properties.
Using Coconut Oil
Coconut oil consumption is typically used in cooking. Unrefined, natural, and organic oil is the best kind to use because it lacks harmful toxins that other cooking oils contain.
Processed coconut oil can be chemically processed and bleached, making the fats no longer healthy fats. With this, extra virgin coconut oil is the best for cooking purposes.
Coconut oil can carry 120 calories per tablespoon, whereas pure MCT oil contains about 100 calories per tablespoon, however, pure MCT oil cannot be cooked with due to its low smoking point. When oil is cooked, it breaks down and produces free fatty acids, an unhealthy result of overcooking the oil.
Coconut oil has a high smoking point, and can, therefore, be cooked at high temperatures without oil breaking down into free fatty acids. Cooking with coconut oil allows you to reap the health benefits that MCT oil cannot give you when it comes to cooking.
So now you know the benefits of MCT oil versus coconut oil you can make the call as to what and how to include it into your diet.
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