What is MCT Oil?
MCT Oil is a kind of fat found in several healthy oils, including coconut oil and palm oil. (By the way, “MCT” stands for “Medium-chain triglycerides”. Aren’t you glad we just say “MCT”?)
Triglycerides are just a kind of molecule that makes up fats. They come in long, medium, or short chains, and their size affects how your body digests them. MCTs have certain health benefits that help them stand out from other fats.
MCT oil is particularly valued by keto enthusiasts for this reason. Your body can break down MCTs faster than it can break down LCTs (Long-chain triglycerides), like soybean oil or nuts. This can give you a quick boost of energy if your body is in ketosis. That’s also why the famous “bulletproof coffee” recipe contains MCT oil.
MCT oil does not occur naturally on its own. It has to be extracted from a natural oil, using a process called Fractionation. This means that it is technically a processed ingredient, but compared to most processed foods, it is actually quite healthy. One reason for this is because MCT oil does not contain sugar, unlike most processed foods.
Nutrition at a Glance
As a fat, MCT oil is… just fat.
A single tablespoon contains:
- 120 calories
- 14 grams of fat
- 0 protein
- 0 carbs
- 0 fiber
Obviously MCT oil alone is no place to get your vitamins and minerals. But it does play other valuable roles, and some vendors sell MCT oil supplements with added vitamins.
Research has suggested that MCT oil can release hormones that promote the feeling of fullness. People who consume MCT oil regularly may find they eat less during the day.
MCT oil does not cause automatic weight loss, however, so there are often more complicated issues at play.
There are moments in the day when we all need a little burst of energy. It’s easy to reach for a coffee or a candy bar, but those have serious consequences, especially if you are on keto.
The human body breaks down MCT oil rapidly, meaning it can be an effective source of rapid energy. This is especially true if your body is already in fat-burning ketosis mode. In that case, your liver quickly converts MCT oil into ketones, that your body uses as energy in place of carbohydrates.
MCT oil has long been a favorite among athletes and bodybuilders. When you exercise for long periods of time, lactic acid builds up in your body, giving you that “burn”. This can make it harder to keep going.
Ingesting MCT oils seems to help reduce the amount of lactic acid produced in your body, although the mechanism may not be fully understood. With less lactic acid, you can work out longer and make bigger gains.
Managing Neurological Conditions
MCT oil has been shown to help manage symptoms of epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease. Keto was originally invented in the 1920’s to help manage symptoms of epilepsy. So it’s no surprise that MCT oil can help as well- after all, it can be rapidly converted into ketones.
Alzheimer’s disease is related in that it impairs the brain’s ability to use sugar. But if you switch to ketones, your brain cells can function better. One study showed that just one dose was all it took to improve short-term cognition in Alzheimer’s patients. It’s possible it can help cognition in healthy patients, too.
Managing Blood Sugar
MCT oil can also help diabetes patients manage their blood sugar. One study showed that switching from LCTs to MCT oil helped patients reduce their waistlines and body weight.
Another study found that consuming MCTs led to a 30% reduction in the amount of sugar they needed to maintain their blood sugar levels.
The human body is complex, so don’t expect MCT oil alone to manage your blood sugar. Rather, MCT oil can help out as part of a larger strategy of blood sugar management.
How We Use MCT Oil In Our Products
We use MCT Oil in several of our products, including our Butter & Salt Bars and our Chocolate Mint Bars. Our MCT Oil is sourced from coconuts, which are a rich source of the stuff.
MCT Oil acts as a binder, allowing the ingredients to stick together. It also creates a smooth, even texture that melts in your mouth.
Best of all, MCT oil contains zero carbs, so it is completely keto friendly. You could drink the stuff all day and not break ketosis. But it is high in calories, so you probably shouldn’t.