Doctors and nutrition experts are buzzing about MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil and its benefits for weight loss. Is all the hype worth it?
MCT oil is usually derived from coconut oil (in some cases, palm oil), and you can put in a smoothie, on a salad or just take it directly on a tablespoon.
“The beauty of this oil is that it is digested very quickly and you get a quick rush of energy. In a way it works like a carbohydrate, but it’s actually a fat,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative physician who has his own brand of MCT oil as part of his "Be Well" line of supplements.
“It’s good for your metabolism. I’m a big fan of fat, and I don’t think people eat enough fat,” he continues.
Fitness and nutrition expert Aimee Nicotera, previously of Canyon Ranch and Equinox, agrees with him.
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“It helps with weight loss. Some of these studies have shown that MCT can actually help the process of calorie burning,” she says.
Dr. Lipman says that both men and women — young and old — can reap the oil's benefits. He recommends that people start with half a tablespoon, and then work their way up to one whole tablespoon over time.
He also adds that it doesn’t matter if you take it before or after a workout — you will get the same benefits. But as it also gives you a rush of energy, the smartest thing might be to take it before.
As for why the MCT is becoming a trend right now, Dr. Lipman says:
“I suppose people are becoming more aware that fats are healthy. People were always scared of fat, but now they’re getting used to the fact that fat is healthy. And I think that people like it because you get a good quick rush of energy.”
Nicotera adds that people are always looking for a way of getting better results.
“If we can figure out how we can lose fat and still eat fat — that’s the essence of what we’re doing here — who doesn’t want that?”