Triglycerides are the most plentiful kind of fat found in the body. There are three types of triglycerides, categorized by the number of carbon atoms that are attached. Long-chain triglycerides have 13 to 21 carbon atoms, while short-train triglycerides have less than six.
The type of triglyceride we’re interested in is medium-chain triglycerides or MCT, which have six to 12 carbon atoms. They are technically classified as saturated fats. However, MCTs don’t have the same effect on the body as that of saturated fats from dairy and red meat.
The jury is still out on how these fats affect cholesterol levels. Some evidence suggests that they raise blood serum cholesterol. However, other research suggests that they improve the lipid profiles, so the overall effect is positive. Either way, use moderation when ingesting foods rich in MCT. Some dietary approaches recommend an intake of as many as eight to 10 tablespoons of MCT per day, which may be overdoing it.
There are four different categories of MCT. The body metabolizes three of them very efficiently, and all four types deliver a range of health benefits.
You can find MCT in many kinds of oils, such as extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, sesame oil, and avocado oil. Even dairy fats contain small amounts of MCT. However, most MCT products are derived from the richest fats, such as coconut oil or palm kernel oil.
Although the quality of MCT oil derived from either coconut or palm kernel oil is generally comparable, we prefer to use coconut oil derived MCT. Palm kernel oil requires an extra step to purify. Also, palm plantations contribute to more deforestation and are less sustainable than coconut plantations. Finally, coconut oil is a richer source of MCT.