We are proud to be one of the first endurance gels to have an actual fat source. But we don't use just any fat, we use an MCT oil (medium chain triglyceride oil), or fractionated coconut or palm kernel oil. You may wonder why this is a good thing or why we are proud to have it in our gel. There are a few great reasons to include this magical source of fat in our formula:
This fat uses a completely different metabolic pathway than the rest of the gel (and any other gel for that matter). MCT oil absorbs easily into the portal system from the GI tract without needing modification and without using up a lot of digestive resources in the process (it doesn't require bile salts to breakdown, for example). Basically it takes little energy to absorb or to use, and is very calorie dense. MCT oil is seen by your body more like a carb than a fat, and is used for energy instead of being stored or burned as a typical fat. So you have a wonderfully clean and efficient source of fuel that requires little energy to absorb and use, leaving energy and resources for other digestive work, not to mention the work you're doing running, cycling, swimming, etc...
Another great benefit is the fight against what we call "brain fog." You know the feeling. When you're a few hours into your event or training run and you have trouble doing basic math, or calculating your pace, etc... MCT oil is a fantastic cognitive aid. In fact, it's used in Alzheimer's patience for those cognitive benefits. We saw a great deal of positive effects once we added this ingredient to our formula, especially after several hours of activity.
Last, but not least, this oil greatly improves the texture of the gel. People can definitely see a difference in the viscosity of VFuel, especially when compared to our caloric density. We can offer a more palatable (texture wise) gel and still get the higher calorie count.
Now, when you start digging into MCT oil on your own, you will see research all over the spectrum on the effects this oil has on the typical athlete. Some studies show that it has no effect, while other show some large benefits even for your average athlete. Again, we use the tests and the science as a starting point, a baseline, when formulating our products. The rest of the data we collect in our own field tests and studies. How does it ACTUALLY perform, across the board, during, a 100 mile run? During a training run? During a 5k? For example, this ingredient was tested extensively at the Leadville 100 and at Rocky Raccoon 100, in addition to countless long runs by ourselves and a number of beta testers. It was finally tested, with massive success, on training for and competing in the Hardrock 100 with the final formula. Granted, the benefits are more strongly felt and seen during longer events, but they do, most definitely, come out when using MCT oil in day to day training as well.