The Truth About Fat Burning Foods
When you hear the phrase “fat burning food”,you may imagine yourself sitting back with your remote and your snacks while your six pack miraculously surfaces.But before you get ready to veg out, let’s take a closer look at what “fat burning” in this context actually means.It’s true, compared with LCTs (long chain triglycerides) certain type of fat called MCTs (medium chain triglycerides)increase your bodies energy expenditure and are linked to decreased weight, waist circumference, hip circumference, and visceral fat (1). But what does this mean in practice?
Are MCTs overhyped?
A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (meaning a summary of all the best research) found that study participants lost an average of 1 pound of body weight over the course of three weeks. In statistical terms this is a “significant” finding, but practically speaking, you may decide that spending $30 on a bottle of MCTs oil isn’t worth the potential weight loss. So,what is all the hype?
The upside of MCTs
MCTs have fewer carbons than LCTs and are sent directly to the liver to be metabolized rather than entering the blood stream. This makes them particularly useful when it comes to treating certain malabsorptive disorders (2). For example, if you have any disorder involving your pancreas or gall bladder, MCTs are a good source of fat and dietary calories.There is also research that suggest MCTs do not increase your risk for cardiovascular disease like over consumption of some saturated fats can (think butter)3,4. Of course, MCTs are not the only oil in the spotlight.
What about Coconut Oil?
The buzz over MCTs has led to the rise in consumption and popularity of coconut oil.Don’t worry. I’m not going to suggest you deny yourself the joy of a product you can both eat and use as a lotion(I have a jar of coconut oil in my kitchen cabinet because it makes a delicious stir-fry), but it’s important to know the facts before you decide to purchase it because it’s a ‘health food’. Coconut oil made the health food list because it is made up of about ~50% MCTs and at one point it was suggested that although it’s a saturated fat like butter, it doesn’t act like one in the body. However, a recent review of the research concluded that consumption of coconut oil can increase your LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind that increases your risk for heart disease)and should be classified as a saturated fat (4).
The moral of this story is to always question nutrition buzz words. It is not rare for the media to overgeneralized and incorrectly apply research as advice for the general population. To unravel more truths about sources of fat that actually are beneficial for your body, check out our blog post: A Guide to Omega-3 Fatty Acids. You can also visit personanutrition.com and take our assessment to find out which supplements may be right for you and your weight loss journey.