This is my final post in the Food Trends for 2016 series. Thank you for letting me know you’ve enjoyed Part One and Part Two! Let’s wrap up the series with two foods that are trending in the weight loss and health sector: Tiger Nuts and MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides) Oil.

Tiger Nuts

Tigernuts--Chufa-You are probably asking yourself: “What the heck are tiger nuts?” Tiger nuts, also known as Cyprus esculentus, aren’t actually nuts, but instead are tubers (1). Tubers are plants and vegetables segments that may contain a high amount of nutrients and are safe to consume. Tiger nuts are commonly eaten in the continent of Africa, and the country of Spain. There have been many health claims on tiger nuts via popular media. Some of these claims include promoting weight loss, controlling diabetes, and preventing heart disease (1).

Diabetes

Can eating tiger nuts help prevent diabetes? Popular media claims that the non-soluble fibre in tiger nuts helps control diabetes. They explain that fibre doesn’t contribute to blood sugar levels, and this is key as to why tiger nuts help control diabetes (1). However, there are few well designed research studies to substantiate the actual causation relationship of this.

Weight Loss

Another popular health claim is that tiger nuts help individuals lose weight (2). Online claims suggest the fibre content in the tiger nuts increases feelings of fullness, and prevents hunger pangs or cravings just hours after you eat, and an easier time cutting calories on the whole (2). However, there are few well designed research studies to substantiate the actual causation relationship of this.

Heart Health

One of the top claims of the health benefits of tiger nuts is that they are good for cardiovascular health, as they are high in the MUFA omega -9 (oleic oil) found in olive oil and that they aid in the prevention of heart disease (2). However, there are few well designed research studies to substantiate the actual causation relationship of consuming tiger nuts and decrease in risk of heart disease.

Overall, there are many claims on the health benefits of tiger nuts, and numerous of the online sites identify there are clinically significant benefits to tiger nuts, yet well designed scientific studies to back up these claims is not readily available. This is one trend and area of research to keep your eye on and stay tuned for more research to substantial the popular online media.

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT)Oil-Bottles-and-jars-

Since my posts about coconuts, I’ve received many questions about MCT oil. Medium chained triglycerides (MCT) can be found in palm kernel oil and coconut oil (3). As we know fats in moderation are an important part of our overall dietary pattern and MCT can be part of that equation.

Weight Loss

There is mixed evidence to suggest that MCT can aide in weight loss. Some research suggests that they are associated with weight loss because they hormonally increase feelings of fullness and may enhance the body to uptake and utilize fat as fuel source instead of carbohydrate (3). However, St-Onge et al. says there is no evidence of decreased intake at subsequent meals due to these changes in these hormones (4). Therefore, there is weak evidence to show that consumption of MCT may assist in the mechanism of weight loss, but more research is needed to conclude this point.

Athletic Performance

As previously mentioned, MCT may help the body to utilize fat as an energy source, sparing carbohydrates (3). This is beneficial to athletes, because they can save their glycogen stores to use later. However, there is no evidence that MCT alone can improve athletic performance, and the mechanism is unknown for how medium chain triglycerides with carbohydrates improves athletic performance (5, 6).

There are no magic bullets in our food supply that will alone prevent disease or make you lose weight. However, making wise food choices, being active each day and getting enough sleep nightly promotes immune health, weight management and overall wellbeing. Follow my equation for energy, practice mindful eating and thank you for joining me for my Food Trends for 2016 Series!

Copyright © 2016 Jane Dummer | All Rights Reserved

References:

  1. Tigernuts & Health [cited 2015 Nov 29] Available at: http://www.tigernuts.com/tigernuts-health/
  2. Macher I. Tiger nuts and their amazing weight loss benefits. 2015 May 4 [cited 2015 Nov 29] Available at: http://gethealthygethot.com/2396/tiger-nuts-and-their-amazing-weight-loss-benefits/
  3. Alexandrou E, Gene RH, Matthew DW. High-level medium-chain triglyceride feeding and energy expenditure in normal-weight women. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2007 May; 80(5):507-13. [cited 2016 Feb 1].
  4. St-Onge MP, Mayrsohn B, O’Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 July;68:1134-40. [cited 2016 Feb 1].
  5. Ööpik V, Timpmann S, Medijainen L, Lemberg H. Effects of daily medium-chain triglyceride ingestion on energy metabolism and endurance performance capacity in well-trained runners. Nutrition Research. 2001 August;21(8):1125-35. [cited 2016 Feb 1].
  6. Van Zyle CG, Lambert EV, Hawley JA, Noakes TD, Dennis SC. Effects of medium-chain triglyceride ingestion on fuel metabolism and cycling performance. The American Physiological Society. 1996;80(6):2217-25. [cited 2016 Feb 1].