MCT Oil: Fad or Fact?

WHAT IS MCT OIL – FAD OR FACT?

MCT oil is exceptionally popular with followers and advocates of the Keto Diet.  Keto regimes and MCT recipes crop up online all the time.  But is this just another fantastic fad, or is there something in it?


WHAT IS A KETO DIET?

Keto is short for ketosis, a state where the body is burning fat for energy instead of sugar.  Something we all want to achieve!  The whole goal of the keto diet is to keep the body in a state of ketosis, so that fat is burned effectively.


HOW DOES IT WORK?

The body has two main sources of energy:

  • Glucose – which comes from breaking down carbohydrate rich foods like bread, pasta, potato and of course sugar, cakes and biscuits.
  • Ketones – which come from fats.

The body will always choose to use glucose first, as it is the easiest way for it to access energy.  When glucose supply is limited however, the liver will start to produce ketones to provide the energy the body needs, by breaking down fats. A keto diet is designed to limit carbohydrates, so that the body is forced into ketosis.


SO, WHAT CAN YOU EAT?

Keto diet is not about counting calories, and many things may seem at odds with the rules we have to follow on a more traditional diet.  This is one of the reasons why, for many, it can be an easier regime to stick with.  Foods that are included are:

  • Meat, fish and seafood – these are all good sources of protein. However, the keto diet does not increase the amount that would normally be eaten.
  • Eggs – a great staple of this diet, often used to replace bread in omelette wraps, and to make savoury ‘muffins’, which contain no flour.
  • Vegetables from above the ground – these are used in abundance to add flavour and variety.  They are also used to replace carbs with things like cauliflower mash, cauliflower rice and courgette spaghetti.
  • Full fat dairy – including cream, full fat Greek yogurt and cream – remember fat is your friend on keto!
  • Nuts – can be used as a snack. The best are said to be pecan and macadamia.

AND WHAT TO AVOID?

  • Carbs – no sugar, cakes, biscuits or simple ‘white’ carbohydrates are allowed.  A small amount of complex ‘wholegrain’ carbohydrates are permitted, but it is suggested that total carbohydrate intake is kept below 100g per day.
  • Fruits – a small amount of berries may be used, but apart from this fruit is high in simple sugars.
  • Vegetables from below the ground – potato, carrot, sweet potato, parsnips all contain a relatively high level of carbohydrate, so are kept limited on a keto regime.

WHERE DOES MCT COME IN?

MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides; these are the type of fats the body prefers to produce ketones. If we provide a diet which is low in glucose, but rich in MCT’s, then the body is provided with what it requires to effectively enter into ketosis – fat burning.

Taking MCT oil – either in coffee, smoothies, or even capsules – has been shown to effectively support ketosis and the production of ketones, boosting fat burning and energy levels.  In fact, clinical studies have shown that women using MCT oil products will burn an extra 190 calories a day – men even more!


CHOOSING YOUR MCT OIL

MCT oil can be produced from coconuts or from palm oil.  Palm oil is the cheapest option, but it is not the option preferred by most advocates of the keto diet.  There is also the issue that palm oil production is strongly linked to the destruction of the rainforests. 

Therefore, for the maximum potential for your keto regime look for a 100% coconut sourced MCT, and you will also be playing your part in caring for the planet! 


Written by Jenny Logan DNMed (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in private clinics and health food stores for over 20 years).

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