What Are Medium Chain Triglycerides?
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of dietary fat.
Dietary fats consist of molecules made up of carbon atoms. These individual carbon atoms compose linked chains. The chains range in length from 2 to 22 carbon atoms.
Long Chain Fatty acids (LCTs) are the most common form of fat consumed in the average diet. LCTs have chains that are 12 to 18 carbon atoms long.
MCTs are unique as they have considerably smaller chains. On average, MCTs have chains made up of 6 to 10 carbon atoms.
MCTs resemble the dietary compound carbohydrates more than a form of fat. This gives MCTs an advantage over LCTs. (Source)
MCTs are easier to digest and absorb than LCTs. They are also easier for the body to convert into energy.
There are four different types of MCT oils:
- Lauric (C12:0)
- Capric (C10:0)
- Caprylic (C8:0)
- Caprioc (C6:0)
The “C” represents how many carbon atoms each type of MCT oil has. The lower the number of carbon atoms, the faster the MCT is digested.
When MCT is digested rapidly, it can be converted to energy rapidly. (Source)
In the early 20th century, MCTs were used as a treatment for seizures. The treatment would include being put on a ketogenic diet.
Consuming high quantities of MCT can encourage ketone productions. Ketones are essential for the body to reach ketosis. The aim of a ketogenic diet is to attain the metabolic state ketosis.
Towards the 1980s, MCTs gained popularity among endurance athletes. Sports such as marathon running require stamina.
Carbohydrates can also provide an energy boost. However, excess carbohydrate consumption can cause weight gain among other negative effects.
Athletes unwilling to deal with the effects of too many carbohydrates turned to MCT. Other dietary oils and fats would also be substituted with MCTs.
Read the full recipe on Ultimate Paleo Guide.