Can't Stop Eating? These Two Fats May Help

by Paula Vargas 344 views Supplements

Can't Stop Eating? These Two Fats May Help

As summer approaches, you may be looking to tighten up the diet. The problem? Dieting is hard! If you try to restrict too much too quickly, you could easilly end up having a moment of weakness and inhaling a whole box of cookies.

Know that you don't have to starve yourself throughout your summer shred. By using the right foods like satiating fibre and protein, you'll have greater success than trying to rely solely on willpower. Now that the fear around dietary fats has fallen away, most people know that fats can also be a great tool for body composition.

These two fats in particular have caught the attention of researchers for appetite suppression: MCT (Medium-Chain Triglyceride) oil and CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). MCT oils are prized in the keto diet, and CLA has been long used by bodybuilders looking to gain an extra edge. Can these two fats help you manage your hunger better? Let's find out!

About MCT and CLA:

  • MCTs are a type of fat that have a medium length carbon chain - they differ from other fatty acids, because they’re absorbed directly from the intestines and sent to the liver, where they are mainly burned as fuel. This makes MCTs a popular choice for Keto dieters and low-carb athletes. You can find it in high-fat dairy products, but the usual sources are coconut oil and palm kernel oil. For concentrated form of MCTs, you can find them here.

  • CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that is found in meat, dairy and can also be made from safflower oil. Rather than eating it by the tablespoon, you'll normally find it in capsule form when used as a supplement

A scientific study looked at MCT and CLA to decrease appetite: 

Nineteen adults participated in a randomized, single-blind study. They were healthy adults that didn’t purposely restrict eating and weren’t super active during the day.  These participants were tested over three days, under three different conditions.

Each group was asked to drink a cup of a 123 calorie smoothie, and:

  • The first group also had 16 grams of vegetable oil and 5 grams of CLA 

  • The second group had 25 grams of MCT 

  • The third group had 22 grams of vegetable oil 

Each group consumed the same amount of calories. They were then asked questions about their hunger and satiety every 30 minutes, until the person was hungry enough to ask to eat lunch.  At lunch, they could eat as much as they wanted of the sandwiches provided. The amount they ate was recorded, and they were asked to keep a food log for the rest of the day. 

The process was then repeated for two more days, utilising the different fats. 

What was the conclusion?

Though lunch intake was around the same, the rest of the day's food intake was drastically lower for the MCT group (525 calories). It was also lower for the CLA group (471 calories). The total daily food intake was also significantly lower for both groups, compared to the vegetable oil group: The CLA group ate 451 calories less and the MCT group ate 594 calories less. The timing of lunch was also delayed in the CLA and MCT group. Altogether, the drop in calories is a big statistical difference which can add up to a lot of kilos lost!  

The limitations of the study: 

  • The study only measured acute effects, so long term trials are needed 

  • Gastrointestinal effects may contribute to the decrease in food intake

  • The study ought to be replicated with a bigger group

  • Food diaries can be inconsistent 

The Takeaway:

Despite the positive results, oil still has a lot of calories, so if you’re looking to lose body fat, you’ll have to take this into account. Even though MCT oil is processed differently to other oils, it's still not 'free' calories. It contains 14 grams of fat and 130 calories. To put it in perspective, for 130 calories, you can eat around 110g of chicken breast!

If you want to see how MCT or CLA works for you, first make sure you are accurately tracking your food intake (there are many apps that can help, but MyFitnessPal is a popular option). Once you have an overall intake figure, start to incorporate the MCT or CLA as per the instructions on the product, or you can replicate the amounts in the study. Take note of how long it takes you to get hungry, and then take note of your food intake throughout the day. 

The weight management potential of oils like MCT and CLA show promising outcomes in different scientific studies. For a snapshot of some of these, check out the references below. Athletes, keto lovers and low-carb dieters have long used oils like MCT and CLA to help maximise their shred potential. By using it regularly, you might find you have more energy and can stick to your calorie deficit easier!

Product Recommendations:

MCT Oil Original by Melrose

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CLA 1000 by Gen-Tec

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MCT Powder by Giant Health

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  • Examine.com. 2020. Do Mcts Or CLA Help With Appetite Reduction?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 October 2020].
  • Leah D Whigham, Abigail C Watras, Dale A Schoeller, Efficacy of conjugated linoleic acid for reducing fat mass: a meta-analysis in humans, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 85, Issue 5, May 2007, Pages 1203–1211, https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1203
  • Maher T, Sampson A, Goslawska M, Pangua-Irigaray C, Shafat A, Clegg ME. Food Intake and Satiety Response after Medium-Chain Triglycerides Ingested as Solid or Liquid. Nutrients. 2019 Jul 17;11(7):1638. doi: 10.3390/nu11071638. PMID: 31319633; PMCID: PMC6683029.
  • St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Greater rise in fat oxidation with medium-chain triglyceride consumption relative to long-chain triglyceride is associated with lower initial body weight and greater loss of subcutaneous adipose tissue. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Dec;27(12):1565-71. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802467. PMID: 12975635.
  • St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008;87(3):621-626. doi:10.1093/ajcn/87.3.621

 

Paula Vargas

Fitness & Nutrition

I studied Law and Marketing at University, but my love for fitness and nutrition lead me to become a qualified PT and Precision Nutrition certified coach. 

If I’m not at the gym, you can catch me researching nutrition, supplements and human psychology. Let’s connect on Instagram! 

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