Nutrition In The News
Is MCT Oil a Miracle Supplement or Just Another Fad?
Article by: Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN
"Is MCT Oil a Miracle Supplement or Just Another Fad?" By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN published 12/18/2015 explores the pros and cons of MCT oil (medium-chain triglycerides) and looks further into the numerous claims that this oil promotes weightloss, improves body composition, and treats diseases. The article begins by describing what MCT oil is. It is typically found in coconut or palm oil, human breast milk and in cow and goat milk. It is easily found online and in stores but is not found in nature. From chemical reactions it is formed into a colorless, flavorless and odorless liquid. In regards to weight-loss claims the article mentioned that some research suggests replacing dietary fats with MCT. The article stated that a review of 25 clinical studies concluded that MCT oil ingestion may lead to upgraded diet-induced thermogenesis and fat oxidation and also preserve insulin sensitivity in people with Type 2 diabetes. It also said that excessive consumption of MCT could actually cause weight gain. The article also notes that is used a detoxification product and it is claimed to improved athletic performance but no evidence can support these claims. The article also shared that some research showed potential effectiveness when using MCT oil as a treatment conditions such as cystic fibrosis, seizures including epilepsy, cachexia, irritable bowel syndrome and for diarrhea. A small number of studies showed promise for treating Alzheimer’s disease with the MCT oil and the article mention that much more research is needed in this Alzheimer's area. The article informs readers that MCTs are most often taken as a dietary supplement; but dietary intake can cause many unwanted symptoms. Most studies done on this specific topic reported that unwanted symptoms were experienced by people with very high-fat diets or who took MCT oil on an empty stomach. These issues include: gastrointestinal distress, diarrhea, vomiting, bloating and cramping. Other studies indicated MCT oil was well tolerated.
"Is MCT Oil a Miracle Supplement or Just Another Fad?" By Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO, LDN an article easy access on Food and Nutrition Magazine was actually very uninformative in my opinion; leaving the reader with many unanswered questions and unsupported or poorly supported data. One of the main issues with this article was that it did not clearly answer the main question it proposed: "Is MCT Oil a Miracle Supplement or Just Another Fad?" it concluded with telling the reader to not replace dietary fats with MCT, gave some pros about the oil and some cons, but essentially gave no clear answer to the question in its title. This article also provided very little evidence when making certain claims; it used phrases such as: "some research “and "most studies" without specific studies, research, researchers, numbers, and names mentioned the claims become not so credible. It mentioned research done where "25 clinical studies were reviewed and found was that MCT oil consumption ranging from 5 grams to 48 grams, most often replacing corn, olive, soybean, canola or animal saturated fats, may lead to enhanced diet-induced thermogenesis..." (Hilton, 2015, p. 7) This statement may seem more credible because it has specific amounts of MCT and a specific number of studies done but still lacks information about who/where the study was done and leaves you with a “may” answer which is almost meaningless. The article also uses “potential” and “potentially” which leave the reader without a clear answer of what it actually does since potentially essentially means maybe it will or maybe it wont. The article does have a credible author; Ginger Hultin, where through her Linkden you can find that she, is a doctor and has a degree in nutrition.