Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) have a small molecular size and yield fewer calories than other fats. In fact, coconut oil has an effective energy value of 6.8 calories per gram, while other fats supply 9 calories per gram.
Medium Chain Triglycerides: Quick-Burning Energy Boosting Fats
When we eat fat, it’s broken down into smaller bundles of of protein and fat called lipoproteins. These lipoproteins are moved into the bloodstream and then shuttled directly into our fat cells. Medium chain triglycerides are different, though. They don’t get bundled into lipoproteins and they don’t course through the bloodstream, seeking out a fat cell to make fatter. Instead, they go right to the liver where they are used for energy, right then and there. Because of this, you can eat much more coconut oil than you can other oils without the same fat-storing consequences.
In addition MCTs do not require bile salts for digestion. Patients who have malnutrition or malabsorption syndromes are treated with MCTs because they do not require energy for absorption, utilization, or storage.
The names of the medium chain fatty acids found in MCTs are: caproic, caprylic, capric and lauric acid.