You’ve all heard of Medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which are a special type of fat with relatively short chains of carbon atoms in the fatty acids.
When you are using a low carb diet these things are great for losing body fat. MCT’s have different properties than the ordinary long chain triglycerides (ordinary fats) that have longer chains of carbon atoms in their fatty acids, and which make up most of vegetable and animal fats.
When consumed orally, MCT’s stimulate the liver to make enzymes that metabolize regular (LCT’s) fats but MCT’s cannot usually be stored as body fat themselves. MCT’s also stimulate thermogenesis (metabolism of fat to create body heat) another mechanism that burns off stored body fat.
Both animal and human studies have shown that MCT’s have beneficial effects of serum lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides). One double blind placebo controlled human study found that one ounce of MCT’s per day caused as much reduction in cholesterol and triglycerides as … an extremely unpalatable hospital metabolic ward fat free diet.
Note: If you wish to experiment with MCT’s, you should increase your intake very slowly to avoid diarrhea. The diarrhea occurs because unadapted intestinal bacteria are killed by excessive contact with MCT’s (one reason MCT’s are so prevalent in mother’s milk). The intestinal bacteria can gradually become accustomed to the MCT’s if you start with only a little, say about a teaspoon after your largest meal, and increase the amount slowly over a period of a few weeks up to a tablespoonful after each meal.
Babayan, “Medium Chain Length Fatty Acid Esters and Their Medical and Nutritional Applications”, J. Amer Oil Chem Soc. PP 49A 51A Jan 1981.