Top Foods Rich in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

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Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are fats processed in the lab and procured from coconut and palm kernel oils. They serve as an effective source of fat for individuals who cannot tolerate other fat types. MCTs aid in weight loss as the human body can easily break down these fats into molecules referred to as ketone bodies. Human bodies rely on these ketone bodies to generate energy.

Patients facing involuntary weight loss because of cachexia or wasting syndrome can benefit from MCTs as they serve as a source of energy. Additionally, people can use these fats for obesity, seizures, Alzheimer’s disease, and athletic performance.

In this blog, let us have a look at the foods rich in MCT and their medical uses.

Which Foods are High in Medium Chain Triglycerides?

Following are a few foods that naturally have a high content of MCTs in them.

●     Coconut oil:

The majority of the fatty acids in coconut oil are MCTs, contributing up to more than 60%. Lauric acid is one of the highest concentrations present in coconut oil. Caprylic and capric acid make up to 13% of fatty acids in coconut oil.

●     Palm kernel oil:

Palm kernel oil is another alternative with a rich source of medium chain triglyceride. 7% of palm kernel oil is caprylic and capric acid while more than 50% is fatty acids.

●     Coconut meat and cream:

Foods high in MCT are coconut meat and cream.The content of caprylic acid is 8%, and capric acid is 4% in these medium chain fatty acids foods.

●     Dairy products:

Dairy products like butter, goat, and feta cheese are foods rich in MCTs. Nearly four to eight percent of their fatty acids are MCTs. Other dairy products also consist of MCTs although in smaller percentages.

Dairy products primarily contain caprylic and capric acid and a low percentage of lauric acid.

Including the above-mentioned whole foods in your diet is an efficient way to introduce more medium chain triglycerides into the diet naturally. However, they will still have a lower percentage of MCT compared to MCT oil. These whole foods also have lauric acid; and long chain triglycerides along with MCT, which does not suit a few individuals. The main reason for avoiding lauric acid and LCTs is they can slow down the rapid metabolization of MCT for energy.

Consuming MCT oil limits the intake of lauric acid and other fatty acids while offering the benefits of caprylic and capric acids. Medium chain triglyceride oil has 100% of caprylic and capric acid. Hence, individuals do not have to consume a large quantity to reap the same benefits they would get from any other food source rich in MCT.

What are The Medical Uses of Medium Chain Triglycerides?

Doctors may prescribe MCTs as part of a treatment plan for various conditions including:

1.   Digestive Issues

Healthcare professionals can prescribe MCTs for patients struggling to digest other types of fats. They can also be prescribed to individuals who need additional nutrients. Following are a few other instances when MCTs are prescribed:

  • Individuals with issues in their pancreas
  • Patients who have or had removed some stomach parts
  • Patients suffering from ailments including small bowel resection, small bowel disease, and short bowel syndrome

2.   Seizures

According to various studies, seizures could be put at ease with a high-fat ketogenic diet. MCTs can be effective for a few children with epilepsy that do not react to drug treatment. A keto diet that consists of MCT rather than long chain triglycerides may be more suitable for children if they have problems with large amounts of fat.

3.   Diabetes

For patients with type 1 diabetes, medium chain fatty acids can help them think better if they have hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar). MCTs can aid in reducing body fat and enhancing insulin resistance for patients with type 2 diabetes.

4.   Autism:

Research is underway to determine how MCTs can help people with autism. Notably, in a small research, a ketogenic gluten-free diet with MCT was found to improve symptoms in autistic children.

5.   Neurological Conditions

According to some studies, medium chain triglyceride oil might help ease issues related to memory, thinking, or judgement. A March 2022 University of Alberta study reported that daily consumption of MCT oil led to stability of cognitive function in participants with Alzheimer’s disease.

6.   Heart disease

MCT oil is considered an effective solution known to aid weight loss and minimize the risk of heart disease. Foods with medium chain triglycerides can help reduce bad cholesterol, such as low-density lipoproteins (LDL), while improving good cholesterol, such as high-density lipoproteins (HDL).

To Sum It Up

Medium chain triglycerides play a crucial role in the food & beverage industry. The demand for MCTs has escalated substantially among consumers seeking healthy fats to aid their weight loss journey. Ongoing studies on the use of medium chain triglycerides in various pharmaceutical formulations to ease symptoms of different medical conditions are likely to increase its demand in the coming years.

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