The f word is not always bad. Although fat is considered by many to be the culprit of multiple health complications and unwanted weight gain, it’s a big mistake to be hasty in judging this certain food group. A particularly healthy fat source is the XCT oil, a modified medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) that is considered beneficial by ketogenic dieters. However, is this oil really worth the hype or is it just another passing trend? This article explores the components of XCT oil and what makes it different from other types of fat.
As mentioned, fats are widely believed to be unhealthy. However, according to Reader’s Digest, most claims that contribute to the bad reputation of fats are based on diet myths. In fact, Tanya Zuckerbot, a practicing dietician states that although fats have similar caloric content, their nutritional structures greatly vary. Plant-based oils are actually proven to be effective in the prevention of heart diseases and stroke. The American Health Association reports that healthy fats can decrease cholesterol levels as effectively as conventional medication. Fats also promote weight loss and muscle building by speeding up the synthesis of fats in the body.
MCTs are saturated fatty acids that provide remarkable health benefits. One great source is coconut oil, with MCTs making up approximately 62 to 66% of its fat composition. It is also present in palm oil and dairy products.
The term “medium” in its name—medium-chain triglyceride—pertains to the length of the chain of fatty acids it contains. The shorter length of its triglycerides makes it easier for the body to absorb MCT. The length of chains in different types of oils can be short, medium, long or a combination of these three.
Medium-chain fatty acids include caproic, caprylic, capric, and lauric acid. XCT oil is an MCT that has a formulation of purely caprylic and capric acid.
Before we discuss how XCT oil specifically boosts fitness progress, let’s first tackle how MCT oil in general, promotes good health.
MCTs are more easily absorbed by the body than long-chain triglycerides. This ease of absorption allows the fatty acids to be rapidly transported from the gut to the liver. The synthesis of MCTs also doesn’t require bile secretion. Upon reaching the liver, the MCTs start to be broken down and converted into fuel or fat stores. However, MCTs are able to penetrate the cells without being synthesized, thus they can be used as an instant source of fuel for the body. In keto dieters, MCTs can even be converted into ketones which energize the brain cells.
Promotes Healthy Weight Loss
The efficacy of MCT oil in speeding up weight loss is mainly grounded on its ability to suppress appetite, provide an immediate source of energy, and promote the balance of gut bacteria.
Studies show that MCT oil can heighten the release of peptide YY and leptin in the body—the two hormones that send signals of fullness to the brain. This curbs the appetite and triggers the body to stop eating. Accordingly, one particular study has found that subjects who consumed two tablespoons of MCT oil at breakfast ate less during lunch compared to participants who took coconut oil. In addition, supplementation of MCT oil has also been proven to trim down waist circumference and reduce weight.
MCT oil does not require to be broken down before it can be used as energy. Thus, it is not essential for the body to store fat. The metabolic processes involving MCTs are also complex and varying, thus more calories are likely to burn just to perform these.
MCTs are converted into ketones when one’s carb intake is significantly low, such as the case in keto dieters. MCT oil consumption allows individuals following the keto diet to remain in ketosis or the state of burning fat.
MCT oil may also help boost the health of the digestive tract by enhancing the growth of good gut bacteria. Healthy digestion can be a factor in weight loss.
Combats Bacterial Growth
Studies suggest that fatty acids in MCT oil can reduce the growth of bacteria and yeast. For instance, coconut oil, a rich source of MCTs, has antibacterial properties that alleviate yeast infections and skin problems. It has also been proven that MCTs can stop the spread of the infection-causing fungus by up to 50% in hospitals. One particular clinical study from the PubMed Central database has found that the antibacterial and antifungal abilities of MCTs are anchored on the presence of caprylic, capric, and lauric acid in its fat content.
May Reduce Risks of Heart Disease
Chronic inflammation, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and obesity are some contributing factors in the development of the cardiovascular disease. MCT oil shows promise in reducing the C-reactive protein, which causes inflammation that can intensify the risks of having a heart attack.
A study retrieved from the National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals that adding MCT oil to the diet of overweight men reduced their levels of bad cholesterol and enhanced the production of good cholesterol.
Benefits and Uses of XCT Oil
XCT is a modified MCT oil that provides most of its health benefits. However, its formulation has six times more capric and caprylic acid than coconut oil. Capric and caprylic acid are the two most ketogenic fatty acids in MCT oil which improve ketone production.
Supplementation of XCT oil is proven to curb appetite, enhance mental function, and boost athletic performance. It can also help stabilize blood sugar levels, reduce the frequency of food craving episodes, fight inflammation, and speed up fat loss.
XCT Oil can be used as cooking oil, as it has no flavor that can interfere with the flavors of the main ingredients. It can also be added to coffee and tea to make them thick and frothy. Another good way to consume XCT oil is by mixing it with herbs to create a salad dressing. Adding XCT oil to smoothies and shakes can also make them healthier and more filling.
Although most individuals can tolerate XCT oil, large doses have been reported to cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. To prevent experiencing side effects, it’s suggested that you start your supplementation with a small dosage and gradually increase it over time. It’s also vital to note that XCT is a supplemental oil that must not be used to replace all other types of edible fat in your diet as its chemical structure is not enough to support your nutritional needs.