The marketplace provides a variety of MCT oils and structured lipids. Although there has been success in structured fats, these developments have come with considerable time and cost compared with simple MCT oil mixtures. The development of structured lipids will focus on cost.
Regulations regarding MCT oils and structured lipids vary between countries. Japan was the first to regulate and implement programs for functional foods. MCFA were approved as FOSHU (Foods for Specific Health Use) for health claims in the category of 'neutral fats and body fats'. In the United States, MCTs benefit from the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) label provided for use by the FDA, confirming the safety of MCTs in human nutrition. In Canada, MCTs are allowed for use both as a food and as an ingredient in foods. When sold as a food, the acceptable common name is 'Medium Chain Triglycerides' and the abbreviation 'MCT' is not acceptable (Canadian Food Inspection Agency Food Safety Directorate
Bureau of Food Safety and Consumer Protection). However, claims about the function, effects, or benefits of MCT are not permitted in Canada. A variety of functional foods, including MCT, are sold in Europe. Again in the European Union, functional or health claims are the center of the problem of regulation of functional foods since they are not yet authorized. At present, Australia and New Zealand do not possess a comprehensive regulatory framework on health claims for functional foods. The competitive marketplace and demand for new functional products appears to have encouraged the food industry's interest in obtaining government approval for health claims - especially since companies have invested time and money in the development of these products. However, most health claims for MCT oils and structured lipids are still banned in many countries.
Overall, functional foods, including MCT oils and structured lipids, are readily sold in markets worldwide. However, health claims are not allowed until further proof of action on weight loss is generated.
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