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What is MCT oil and is it good for you?

MCT, or medium-chain triglyceride, oil is a supplement that you’ve probably seen added to smoothies, Bulletproof coffee, salad dressing, or other health-conscious foods. Think of it as a cousin of coconut oil, the type of fat from which some MCT oils are derived. But unlike its fragrant friend, MCT oil is odorless, colorless, and stays liquid at room temperature. And as opposed to a lot of “healthy” food fads out there (ahem, crystal water bottles), this one has some serious science to back up the physical benefits it provides, which include weight loss, energy boosts, and reduced cholesterol.

But What Is MCT Exactly?

First, let’s  get nerdy for a second. Medium-chain triglyceride oil, like its name says, contains medium-length chains of fats called triglycerides. Because of their shorter length, MCTs can be more easily digested and processed by your body, meaning they’re absorbed more quickly than other fats and can be quickly converted into energy. This is the idea behind the keto diet, which allows for MCT oils because many strains of MCT quickly convert fat to ketones for energy.

What Does It Do?

Your Best BetsThe Best MCT Oils, According to Keto ProsIf you’ve been hearing more about MCT, it’s probably because there have been a lot of studies surrounding the benefits of the stuff. Big with keto dieters and intermittent fasters, MCT oil promotes weight loss in a few different ways. For one, it keeps you feeling full. A study found that people who incorporated two tablespoons of MCT oil into their breakfast ended up eating less food at lunch when compared to a group that took coconut oil at brekkie instead. Other research found that MCT oil can help prevent obesity and reduce waist circumference more than its fatty counterparts, such as olive oil.

Similarly, MCT oil has been shown to lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and increased HDL, the good kind. One study found that men taking MCT oil, phytosterols, and flaxseed oil for 29 days reduced total cholesterol by 12.5 percent. (With good old EVOO, the reduction was only 4.7 percent.)

There’s also some research out there that says MCT oil helps fuel you faster than long-chain triglycerides because they go straight to your gut and to the liver and because of their short length, are quickly broken down into energy and brain food. (Speaking of brain food, some researchers say that MCT oil may help manage epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and autism.)

MCT also fights off bacteria. In one study, MCTs suppressed the growth of widespread infectious fungus in hospitals by 50 percent.

How Much Should I Take and Where Can I Find It?

Stick to about 1-2 tablespoons a day. That’s a good amount to help you get all the benefits and avoid any negative side effects, which may include increased hunger and potential fatty buildup in your liver. Some diehards skip breakfast and use it in their Bulletproof coffee too. Whole Foods has its own brand and carries a slew of different MCT oils, as does your local health food store, most likely. You can also buy this 3-ounce version on Amazon if you want to give it a try before committing to a bigger bottle.

Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil, 3 ounces for $6.60 on Amazon

Extracted from 100 percent pure coconut oil, this claims to be the most effective type of MCT you can find.
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Related Video: How to Make Ultimate Keto Coffee

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