List of Medium Chain Fatty Acids Foods

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halves of coconuts with coconut trees in background

Are you considering new dietary supplements? One of the trending one’s today is something called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil. The “medium” is based on the carbons contained in the fatty acids. As with other dietary supplements, it’s important to learn about what MCTs are all about. That will help you to figure out if it’s the right one for you.

There are several options so it can be tough to sort them out. Another source of MCTs are medium chain fatty acids foods. This includes some healthy oils like coconut oil. Other good sources of MCTs include milk, cheese, and yogurt.

It’s also worth noting that different foods have different amounts of MCTs. Coconut oil has the highest MCT/total fat ratio. However, you can still good more of the fatty acids from other foods like palm oil and dairy products. These foods can help to boost your good fats.

In recent years these have been highlighted in diets like Keto and Atkins. In fact, the Ketogenic diet requires about three-quarters of your calories to be fats. So, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough fatty acids from foods like healthy oils and dairy products. When on Keto it will help you stay in ketosis.

What Are Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)?

This is the first question to take up. The “medium-chain” is related to how many carbons they contain. For example, long-chain fatty acids have up to 21 of them. MCTs have just 6 to 12 carbons. This is what makes them different from long-chain fatty acids (LCT).

There’s another big difference. The liver breaks down MCTs fast compared to the LCTs. It allows them to provide a quick energy boost. They can also be turned into ketones. Yes, these are the same ketones that are produced while people are on the ketogenic diet.

These features can provide various health benefits. Compared to other fats research shows that MCTs can also break down quicker and be used faster. There are actually four kinds of MCTs. When you’re purchasing an MCT oil here are the types you can pick from; C6, C8, C10, and C12.

Which one is right for you? In theory, C6 is the best one to get the best results. The problem is there’s a caveat. It has the fewest carbons but it’s also the worst-tasting.

How about C8, C10, and C12? If you want to crank up ketone production then go with C8 or C10. If you want better gut health and improved immune system then go with C12. You’ll get those features with this supplement.

Various studies have been done on MCTs. For example, a 1996 study found that taking up to 30g per day gave energy boosts of 5%. MCTs seem to cause fat burning by triggering a certain system in the body.

There are other ways MCTs can help with weight loss. They also help you feel fuller. When that happens, you’ll be likely to eat less and eat fewer snack foods. That, in turn, can result in weight loss. If you’re trying to lose weight it’s a good thing.

Medium Chain Fatty Acids Foods

Dairy

You can find high amounts of MCTs in various dairy foods. The actual amount is based on if you pick whole-fat or low-fat dairy products.

Here’s an example. 1 cup of whole milk contains 0.55g of MCTs. Meanwhile, skim milk has just a small amount. Here are some other amounts for different dairy products:

  • Butter (1 TBSP): 1g   
  • Cheddar Cheese (1 slice): 0.4g

On the other hand, full-fat milk and cheese have up to 7g of saturated fat.

Coconut/Palm Kernel Oil

These are actually some of the top options for MCT foods. One tablespoon of each oil has around 11g of saturated fat. How about MCTs? Coconut oil has nearly 8g of MCTs in that amount. Meanwhile, palm kernel oil has slightly less at 7.4g.

When you’re looking for healthy cooking oils these are better options than highly-processed vegetable oils. If you want to know if they’re in certain foods you eat check the ingredients label. They’re often used to cook:

  • Cakes/Pies
  • Instant Noodles
  • Snack Foods
  • Non-dairy Creamers  

MCT/Total Fats

One takeaway is coconut oil’s MCT/fat ratio is much higher than foods, which are all around 7%. In fact, coconut oil’s percentage is almost 2x higher than Palm Oil, which is an excellent source of MCT.

MCT Oil

Besides getting MCT in some oils and dairy you can also supplement your diet with MCT oil. This is a dietary supplement that’s added to different foods and drinks like Bulletproof Coffee, fruit/veggie smoothies, and salad dressing.

The store-bought oil is often sourced from coconut oil since MCTs make up over half of coconut oil’s total fat. There are actually 4 kinds of MCTs.

Scientists have found several benefits of MCT oil including:

  • Energy Boost
  • Weight loss
  • Energy from fat
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lower blood sugar
  • First yeast/bacteria
  • Lowers risk of heart disease
  • Lowers lactate buildup
  • Helps with Alzheimer’s, Autism, and Epilepsy
  • Fuels brain

Top Food Sources of Healthy Fats

Nut Butters

Is peanut butter keto-friendly? It can be if it’s sugar-free and low-salt. However, many diets like keto are focusing on the different nut or seed butter. You can find several that are low-carb and high-fat. These are both key features that can help you stay in ketosis.

Salmon

This is a good option for omega-3 fatty acids. Other fatty fish include mackerel, tuna, sardines, and herring. These fish are heart-friendly and are also good sources of lean protein. It’s a good idea to eat fish at least twice during the week.

Avocados

If there were a “perfect” Keto food it might be the avocado. It’s fairly low-carb and high-fat. In fact, you get 23g of fat but it’s mostly good fat known as unsaturated. There’s also lots of good stuff like antioxidants and fiber.

Avocados can be used in many ways like a spread, mayo, and dip. In fact, it’s the main ingredient of the popular guacamole dip.

Olives/Olive Oil

Fun Fact: One cup of olives (black) has 15g of fat. However, this is mostly unsaturated fat so it’s the “good” kind. You can also get many other nutrients including one that seems to be anti-cancer.

Meanwhile, olive oil is also a keto-friendly source of good fat. You can use it in many ways. They include cooking oil or drizzling over salads. This is one of the top foods of the Mediterranean Diet due to the good fats.

Walnuts

This is considered as one of the superfoods and one of the healthiest tree nuts available. Walnuts are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. It even includes a special plant-based version of omega-3.

Walnuts can provide other benefits. They seem to make blood vessels work better and lower total and LDL/bad cholesterol, which is ideal when eating medium chain fatty acids foods.

list of foods with medium chain fatty acids

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