|Yes, coconut oil does contain MCTs, but it is not as some people believe pure MCT. Only ~50% of the fat in coconut oil is actually in MCT form. If you want pure MCTs you have to resort to specific MCT supplements / oils.|
MCTs contain 8 to 12 carbon atoms and include caprylic acid (C8:0, octanoic acid), capric acid (C10:0, decanoic acid), and lauric acid (C12:0, dodecanoic acid). Foods high in MCTs include coconut oil (58%), palm kernel oil (54%), desiccated coconut (37%), and raw coconut meat (19% of total energy) (USDA). Average intakes of 1.35 g/day (0.7% of total energy intake | USDA. 2008) MCTs have been reported in the United States and 0.2 g/day in Japan | Kasai. 2003).
MCT is cleaved into glycerol and medium-chain fatty acids in the gut lumen.5 The medium chain length makes a smaller, more soluble molecule compared with a longchain fatty acid, giving it a preferential absorption and metabolic route in the body. As the authors of the latest meta-analysis of the effects of MCTs on body weight say:
"[t]his physicochemical nature of medium-chain fatty acids allows them to pass into the portal vein on route to the liver to be rapidly metabolized via b oxidation with no requirement of reesterification in intestinal cells, incorporation into chylomicrons, or the rate limiting enzyme carnitine acyltransferase for intramitochondrial transport. In comparison, long-chain fatty acids have a slower route, being re-esterified in the small intestine and transported by chylomicrons via the lymphatic and vascular system before being oxidized for energy or stored. Thus, rapid metabolism of MCTs reduces their opportunity of adipose tissue uptake." (Mumme. 2015)Several human intervention studies have been conducted investigating the weight-reducing potential of MCT, with mixed results. In their latest meta-analysis, Mumme et al. set out to separate the wheat from the chaff in order to answer the question whether MCTs, specifically C8:0 and C10:0, provide significant weight loss benefits and/or trigger changes in body composition compared to "regular" long-chain fatty acids (LCT).
No, you won't lose slabs of body fat by adding MCTs to your diet! Unless, the satiety effect of MCTs makes you eat less on other meals, you are going to gain body fat by adding MCTs to your diet, because you are effectively increasing the total amount of energy in your diet.Of the latter the foremost values are those that are of greatest interest and among them the body mass shows a measurable, albeit not earth-shattering reduction in almost all trials. Only the in the 2001 study by Matsuo et al. there was an increase in body weight in response to an MCT supplement that contained almost no medium chain triglycerides.
|Figure 2: Meta-analysis for changes in total body fat, total subcutaneous fat, and visceral fat (Mumme. 2015).|
- DeLany, James P., et al. "Differential oxidation of individual dietary fatty acids in humans." The American journal of clinical nutrition 72.4 (2000): 905-911.
- Hamman, Richard F., et al. "Effect of weight loss with lifestyle intervention on risk of diabetes." Diabetes care 29.9 (2006): 2102-2107.
- Kasai, Michio, et al. "Effect of dietary medium-and long-chain triacylglycerols (MLCT) on accumulation of body fat in healthy humans." Asia Pacific journal of clinical nutrition 12.2 (2003): 151-160.
- Mumme et al. "Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides on Weight Loss and Body Composition: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials." EAT RIGHT - Research Review (2015).
- US Department of Agriculture. Nutrient Intakes From Food: Mean Amounts Counsumed per Individual, One Day, 2005-2006. Washington, DC: US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service; 2008.