The Ultimate Guide to MCT Oil (And How To Use It On The Keto Diet)

Over the past couple of years, MCT oil has been hailed as one of the miracle ‘supplements’ that assists in weight loss and helps to boost overall wellness. The term ‘supplement’ is loosely used, because MCT oil is an almost natural product.

Unlike whey protein and BCAA’s that are processed and have ingredients added to them, MCT oil is actually a particular type of fat that has been isolated to make it easier for the body to absorb.

MCT stands for medium chain triglyceride and the oil is rich in lauric acid. Coconut oil is often confused with MCT oil and people assume that they’re the same. To a certain extent they’re similar, but there are differences too.

Most cold pressed coconut oil contains the medium chain triglycerides, but coconut oil also contains other kinds of fat that are not really required for weight loss. This is where MCT oil makes a difference.

MCT oil is comprised of 100% medium chain triglycerides – which is more than what coconut oil contains. It is solely comprised of the fats necessary for weight loss. Many MCT oil manufacturers try to pass off diluted lauric acid as MCT oil. So, you’ll need to purchase quality high-grade MCT oil from reputable suppliers.

4 Powerful Benefits of MCT Oil

There are several benefits of MCT oil, you’ll soon see it’s a very useful tool for the keto diet.

Aids in ketosis

While coconut oil is good and rich in fat, MCT oil doesn’t contain the extra strains of fat that coconut oil has. It only contains one type of fat that’s rapidly assimilated by the body.

This translates to faster ketosis. In the beginning stages of the keto diet, many beginners struggle to achieve a state of ketosis. Getting the body to burn fat (ketones) for fuel instead of glucose is an uphill task.

You want the body to rapidly use the fats you’re consuming in order to stimulate ketosis. With MCT oil, you can achieve this.

Increases metabolism

When combined with high intensity interval training and intermittent fasting, MCT oil can help to boost your metabolism. This will mean that your body burns more calories while at rest… and it’ll be much tougher to regain the pounds you’ve painstakingly lost.

The thermogenic properties of MCT oil will help you to lose as much weight as possible. This will mean reaching your weight loss goals much faster.

Reduces hunger

It’s very common for people who are on a conventional diet to feel hungry about 2 hours after their meal. Since the body burns glucose for fuel, it needs a constant supply of glucose… which means that you need to keep eating. This leads to obesity, which has now reached epidemic proportions.

Often, the foods consumed are low in nutrients that the body needs. So, it craves more nutrients, but people keep feeding their bodies with processed foods that are high in carbs and sugar but low in nutrients the body really wants and needs… which is why they constantly feel hungry.

When you consume MCT oil, this is exactly the type of fat the body needs, and it quickly absorbs it. When mixed in bulletproof coffee that contains ghee or butter, the body feels satiated and has energy for hours.

MCT oil is a cleaner fuel source than glucose and the body easily uses it for energy. Your hunger and cravings will vanish.

Helps stabilize blood sugar levels

It’s almost impossible to lose weight when your blood sugar levels keep spiking. This often happens when you consume carbs throughout the day, and your body keeps releasing insulin.

Fat loss grinds to an abrupt halt when there’s glucose in your blood. When you’re consuming MCT oil and on a keto diet, your blood sugar levels will be stable, and you’ll be able to shed the excess pounds much faster.

These 4 reasons alone should make you seriously consider adding MCT oil to your diet. Besides the benefits mentioned above, it’s also a good source of energy, boosts your immune system, helps with muscle preservation, improves brain health and much more.

mct oil pouring out of bottle

Understanding the Properties of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)

Medium chain triglycerides, also known as MCT, are comprised of 6 to 12 carbon atoms. That’s why they’re known as medium chain. The long chain triglycerides have 13 to 18 carbon atoms.

MCTs have become very popular over the past few years because of the popularity of the keto diet. Since the keto diet is a fat-based diet, those who adopt it need to get 70 to 75 percent of their calories in the form of fat.

Coconut oil is one of the foods recommended for this diet. Since it’s rich in lauric acid, it aids in weight loss and has many beneficial health properties. However, it also has extra strains of fat that are unnecessary for weight loss.

Because of this downside, several companies have created MCT oil that only has the medium chain triglycerides the body needs to burn fat – and you don’t need to deal with any of the extra fats that you’d get if you were to consume coconut oil.

Palm oil and coconut oil contain medium chain triglycerides. So, when purchasing your oil, it would be a good idea to see where your MCTs are derived from. There are several other benefits that can be derived from MCT’s such as increased metabolism, appetite suppression, speeding up ketosis and acting as an antioxidant.

The most common types of MCT found in coconut oil are lauric acid, caprylic acid and capric acid. Depending on the manufacturer, the MCT oil you buy will probably contain all these acids.

Caprylic acid and capric acid, generally don’t have a very pleasant taste. The MCT oil you purchase may taste fine, but if the taste is strong, you can mix it with your coffee and you won’t know the difference.

These fats are great for improving your gut health and will give you a quick boost of energy. If you mixed some in your pre-workout drinks, you’ll really have an edge and be able to give your best effort during your training.

Since these fats are rapidly absorbed by the body, as compared to the long chain triglycerides, they are great as a quick ‘pick me up’ energy booster. Initially, it’s best to consume 1 teaspoon of MCT oil every day.

Over a few weeks, you can build up to 1 tablespoon a day. You can keep building up until you reach 4 tablespoons a day. 1 to 4 tbsp of MCT oil a day is just fine and will be ideal if you’re on the keto diet and need to meet your fat macros.

There’s often debate as to whether one should just stick to coconut oil which is generally cheaper than MCT oil. This will come down to your budget and personal preferences. About 60 percent of coconut oil is comprised of MCT, but when taking MCT oil, you know that 100% of it is MCT. So, there is a difference, but it all depends on you and your goals.

There are many manufacturers of MCT oil because this is a booming industry. So, you can bet that many people will be trying to make a quick buck by passing off diluted lauric acid as MCT oil.

Do your research and find a reputable manufacturer that guarantees only the best ingredients are used and that 100% of the MCT oil or powder are medium chain triglycerides and not diluted coconut oil.

MCT Oil and Weight Loss: What You Need to Know

For starters, MCT oil is NOT a fat burner. There are many misconceptions surrounding this issue. All fat loss is determined based on your caloric intake. This is the cornerstone of successful weight loss. If you’re at a caloric deficit every day, it’s inevitable that you’ll lose weight.

Here’s how MCT oil works – firstly, it’s ideal that you be on the keto diet and reach ketosis. When you’re in this state, your body will burn fat for fuel instead of glucose.

At this stage, your body is very receptive to fat and uses it as a fuel source to create ketones. Since MCT oil is a medium chain triglyceride, it’s a fantastic fat for the body. When you consume it, it’s quickly assimilated by the body and used for energy.

Your metabolism gets a boost and now you burn even more calories when at rest. This translates to increased fat loss.

What MCT oil does is that it encourages the body to burn fat for fuel. So, fat is used for all your energy needs. Since your carb intake will be no more than 50 grams while on the keto diet, your body has no choice but to burn fat for fuel.

MCT oil helps you to reach this stage faster. This is the main reason why so many keto dieters keep mentioning how potent MCT oil is. It doesn’t burn fat, but it encourages fat burning.

Curbing cravings

When you consume MCT oil, your body that’s primed to burn fat (while in ketosis), gets a very good source of fatty acids. It feels satiated and doesn’t get hungry for hours.

This is one of the best benefits of the keto diet and MCT oil. The biggest problem people on conventional diets face is hunger and cravings. Because their bodies are burning glucose for fuel, when glucose levels are low, they desperately crave carbs.

Carbs cause blood sugar spikes and raise insulin levels in the body. This prevents the body from tapping into the fat stores for fuel. To make matters worse, if you’re insulin insensitive, your body releases more insulin than necessary.

The excess insulin ends up getting stored as fat and your weight loss progress is impeded. This is why so many people struggle to lose weight. The body is fighting their efforts.

The keto diet prevents this from happening by adapting the body to use fat as a fuel source, and MCT oil is a high-grade fat that’s healthy and exactly what the body needs.

What is MCT Oil and How Do You Use it with the Keto Diet?

MCT oil is assimilated very quickly by the body. Your body craves this type of fat. Unlike long chain triglycerides that need to be processed by the pancreas and requires enzymes to digest, MCT oil absorption is much faster.

It’s rapidly absorbed by the gut, travels through the blood stream and reaches the liver very quickly. So, what does that mean?

Simple. It means your body can access the fuel and get energy rapidly. That’s what makes it so popular for keto coffee.

What is keto coffee?

Keto coffee is based on Bulletproof coffee, and is one of those drinks that keto dieters absolutely swear by. Basically, it’s normal coffee that’s mixed with ghee or butter and a serving of MCT oil. If MCT oil is not available, then coconut oil will do.

While there are some people who say that consuming keto coffee is not a good idea, there are many who swear by it as a meal replacement and an aid to fat loss.

Since keto coffee is high in calories from fat, most people on a keto diet just treat it as a breakfast meal. If you stopped to think about it, the coffee is high in good fat, nutrients and a dose of caffeine to give you the mental boost you need to start the day.

If you’re not a coffee drinker, you can still add MCT oil to your salad as salad dressing or just swallow 1 tsp a day. Initially, you should consume just 1 tsp and slowly work your way up to 1-4 tbsp a day.

Do note that since it has a low smoke point, you shouldn’t use it for cooking. The heat generated during cooking also changes the chemical structure of the oil. So, it’s best to consume it at room temperature or with coffee.

MCT Oil VS MCT Powder – Which Should You Take?

This is one of the most common questions asked by people who wish to supplement their diet with medium chain triglycerides (MCT). This is one of those questions where there is no right or wrong answer. It all comes down to personal preferences.

Before weighing the pros and cons of each product, it’s important to understand how these products work.

How to use MCT oil and MCT powder

MCT oil like the name suggests is an oil and comes in liquid form. It’s mixed in coffee or drizzled on salads as salad dressing or just swallowed in liquid form.

MCT powder comes in powder form and is stirred and dissolved into coffee or sprinkled into curries, soup, etc. Despite being a powder, it’s still a medium chain triglyceride and is as potent as the oil.

Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons…

Convenience

For starters, MCT oil is much more convenient. You can easily swallow it or mix it into coffee and drink it up. MCT oil is also absorbed by the body much more rapidly.

Absorption

Many people who are on a keto diet and following an intermittent fasting protocol, usually time their meals after their workouts. If you’re consuming MCT oil, the fats will go into the blood stream and be absorbed by the liver quickly.

MCT powder on the other hand takes longer to be absorbed by the body. So, if you need a quick burst of energy, you’d be better off with MCT oil.

Mixability

MCT powder mixes better in coffee. This is one of the biggest bugbears that keto dieters have. MCT oil doesn’t mix well in coffee, and like any oil, floats to the top.

Some people have a difficult time adjusting to this, and drinking bulletproof coffee becomes more of a chore than a pleasurable treat. In cases like these, the powder will be better than the oil.

Expiration

MCT oil usually lasts much longer than MCT powder. So, if you’re making your purchases in bulk, you’re better off with the oil. If you prefer powder, it’s better to buy what you can consume within the expiry period. This will prevent wastage.

Ease of use

When used with cooking, MCT oil is a breeze to use. However, for other uses such as mixing in coffee, etc. MCT powder is easier to use. It’s also not oily or greasy, easier to clean up and doesn’t have the same hassles that come from dealing with oil.

Your constitution

How your body responds to MCT oil will determine if you go with the powder or the oil. Some women’s constitution makes them have diarrhea or stomach problems when they consume the oil.

For women like these, MCT powder will be the best option. It’s worth noting that when you first start using MCT oil, it’s best to go slow and start off with half a teaspoon or 1 tsp a day and gradually build up until you can take 1 tablespoon a day.

Sometimes, building up to it will give your body time to adapt to the oil and accept it without much issue.

At the end of the day, whether you use MCT oil or MCT powder, the benefits to be gained are about the same. If you think this issue warrants further observation, you can try and test both out to find what works for you.

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Hi! I'm Joelle...

Keto coach-in-training and health enthusiast.

Here at Kali Zone we’re not about being perfect.

We’re about making good choices, and taking one day at a time. We’re about good food and fun exercise. Improving our health and fitness in a sustainable, enjoyable way. And supporting each other along the way.

If you're following a ketogenic diet, then taking MCT oil - a natural supplement - can help you get into and stay in the fat-burning state of ketosis.

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Want to kick-start your weight loss - the delicious & healthy way?

Lose body fat and eliminate out of control cravings and hunger, while still eating delicious foods. The Keto Kitchen is a FREE resource to help you on your keto journey. In here you will find guides, cheat sheets, shopping lists - and more.