Fat is not the same fat. Whether vegetable or animal, saturated or unsaturated, long-chain, medium-chain or short-chain - the type of fat also affects our health. Find out here which type of fat is in which foods and what you can eat without a guilty conscience.
MCT fats for digestive problems
Dietary fats can be a possible cause of symptoms such as flatulence, a tendency to diarrhea, upper abdominal discomfort or greasy stools.
A number of disorders involving maldigestion and malabsorption require the use of special dietary fat, so-called medium-chain triglycerides (MCT). Maldigestion means poor digestion of food, malabsorption means poor intake of nutrients through the mucosal cells of the small intestine.
For people with the following diseases, there is help if fat is not tolerated:
- Diseases of the pancreas
- Cystic Fibrosis
- chronic intestinal inflammation
- Celiac disease (native sprue)
- cholagogue diarrhea
- Condition after surgical stomach (part) removal
- Short Bowel Syndrome
By reducing the conventional dietary fats and replacing them with MCT fats, fat digestion is ensured again and unpleasant complaints are avoided.
Dietary fats (triglycerides): LCT and MCT
Dietary fats (triglycerides) are composed of glycerine and different fatty acids. The latter can be short-, medium- or long-chained. The type of fatty acid determines the property of fats and its importance for human nutrition. Common food fats such as butter, margarine, vegetable fats and oils contain triglycerides with long-chain fatty acids, so-called LCT-fats (long-chain triglycerides, English: long chain triglycerides).
The process of fat digestion of these fats is complicated and prone to failure if there is a tendency to indigestion, for example in chronic inflammatory bowel disease or digestive disorders is present for example in exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
A much lower digestive effort, however, require fats, which consist of medium-chain fatty acids. MCT fats can enter the mucosal cells of the small intestine quickly and easily in the intestine, without splitting up by bile acids and enzymes (lipases), and are released directly into the blood.
MCT fats as a solution for fat utilization disorders
MCT fats are found naturally in coconut fat, palm kernel oil and in minimal amounts in milk fat. Using a special process, pure MCT fats are obtained from coconut oil and palm oil. Their fatty acids have a length of six to twelve carbon atoms. Since 1965, special fats from medium-chain triglycerides have been available as dietetic foods. MCT fats can improve fat loss and the associated weight loss and ensure the supply of fat-soluble vitamins.
The dietetic food industry offers MCT specialty products such as margarine, oil, processed cheese, turkey cream and chocolate cream with MCT fats. The products are available via mail order or at the health food store.
Practical recommendations for the use of MCT greases
- For the most part, LCT fats should be replaced by MCT fats, which are gradually introduced into the diet gradually in small quantities. The body needs to get used to the absorption and utilization of these fats, otherwise it may cause discomfort such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting or headache.
- Starting with 20 grams of MCT fats per day, the patient can tolerate a daily increase of 10 grams, about 100 to 150 grams as a daily amount well.
- An even distribution over several meals a day is recommended. Foods high in LCT fats (hidden fats in meat, sausage, cheese, ready meals or sweets) are conveniently reduced.
- MCT greases are not capable of overheating over 150 degrees as they have a lower smoke point compared to LCT.
- Food prepared with MCT fats should be consumed immediately after cooking as keeping food warm will result in a bitter aftertaste.
MCT - The fat that does not lead to obesity
An eight-week study conducted at Charles University in Prague (2 x 4 weeks, cross-over, blind), involving 35 female volunteers, found that eating more MCT-containing foods consumes more calories than LCT-containing foods can, without it comes to the weight increase. Surprisingly, the study also showed that the replacement of LCT fats with MCT fats increases the energy requirement. MCT fats are therefore suitable for the prevention of overweight. It is likely that the use of MCT fats in obese people leads to a weight reduction.
A weight reduction in overweight is achieved especially when a carbohydrate and fiber-rich reduction diet with, for example, 1, 200 to 1, 800 kilocalories is performed. If the amount of fat added consists in particular of MCT fats, the effect can be exploited, thereby saving kilocalories. In the MCT subjects of the Prague study, the energy requirement was increased by an average of 135 kilocalories a day (averaged 49, 275 kilocalories per year).