Introduction

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In a brief discussion that appeared in the Mayo Clinic Bulletin, Dr. Wilder reported on progress made by Dr. Geyelin in preventing epileptic seizures by prolonged fasting. Dr. Wilder suggested that the positive results may not have been the fast itself, but the resulting ketonemia that occurs from fasting. He mentioned that "as has long been known, it is possible to provoke ketogenesis by feeding diets which are very rich in fat and very low in carbohydrate." This article appeared in 1921.1 The promotion of ketogenic diets, by reason of consumption of high fat and low carbohydrate, are nothing new. When medium-chain triglycerides (MCTGs) were recognized as dietary components that promoted ketosis, they were incorporated into the ketogenic diet. MCTGs have been used effectively for years, orally and in tube feedings, for the treatment of malabsorption syndromes or wasting disease syndromes.2-4

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief description of the digestion, absorption, and metabolism of MCTGs, their similarities and differences with long-chain triglycerides (LCTGs), the dietary sources of MCTGs, and a review of human studies on the usefulness of MCTGs as an ergogenic aid.

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