When it comes to the keto diet, MCT Oil is a buzz word you hear over and over again, with countless people singing its praises. So, what actually is this special oil that can apparently make getting into ketosis much easier? This article will give you the facts on what MCT Oil is, how it’s different from coconut oil, and what major health and weight loss benefits it may offer.
Read on to learn how this popular oil may benefit your healthy lifestyle and keto diet goals, starting today!
What is MCT Oil?
In order to tell you about MCT Oil is, first we have to start with MCTs (or medium-chain triglycerides). Whereas most fats in your diet are made up of long-chain fatty acids, called long-chain triglycerides or LCTs, MCTs have a shorter chain. This allows for quicker absorption once in your body and provides an immediate source of energy. Hence why so many people on the keto diet are obsessed with it!
Though coconut oil also provides a ton of health benefits – and is one of the main places that MCT Oil is derived from – you won’t get the same instant source of energy from it. Coconut oil is made up of 55-60% MCTs, but a high-quality MCT oil supplement will give you 100% MCTs.
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
Whether or not you’re on the keto diet, regularly consuming MCT Oil may greatly enhance your life in a number of ways. Let’s look at some of the major potential benefits…
1) Energy for Body & Brain
Because of the shorter chain, the MCT fats in MCT Oil go right from your gut to your liver – and don’t require all the things that longer fats do to break down. For this reason, they’re broken down much faster, becoming superior fuel for your body.
Plus, since MCTs also enter your cells without being broken down at all, they become an immediate source of energy. And they can also be transformed into ketones in your liver –passing through the blood-brain barrier and becoming an energy source for your brain, as well. This may increase your mental focus, concentration and motivation!
2) Promotes Weight Loss
There are lots of ways that MCT Oil is said to potentially assist with weight loss, with a good amount of research behind it. Lots of studies (in animals and humans) show that MCTs help increase the body’s ability to burn fat and calories, since it boosts metabolism.
In one study, a diet rich in MCTs resulted in more fat-burning and greater fat loss than a diet that was high in other, longer-chain fats (LCTs) – like those found in olive oil, fish, nuts, avocado and meat.
In addition, MCT Oil is a lower calorie fat than longer chain fats, providing 10% fewer calories. So you get the weight loss benefits while taking in less calories, which also benefits your waistline.
Finally, MCT Oil is incredibly beneficial for long-term weight management, since it may also help prevent fat storage. Since the shorter fats are absorbed by the body and used much faster than LCTs, they’re less likely to be stored as body fat.
3) Increases Satiety
Whether or not you’re on keto, MCT Oil can also help you get a better control on your diet. That’s because the fat is extremely satisfying, even more so than longer-chain fats. One study showed that compared to LCTs, MCTs led to greater amounts of appetite-reducing hormones in the body, peptide YY and leptin. These hormones create a feeling of fullness, and can help you make more healthy dietary choices and reduce unhealthy snacking.
4) Supports a Healthy Gut
Good gut health is essential to your overall health, especially for the proper absorption of nutrients, and optimal digestive, immune and mental health. Supplementing with MCT Oil – especially a high-quality one derived from coconut oil – promotes the growth of good, beneficial bacteria in your gut (or probiotics).
In addition, MCT Oil supports a healthy gut lining, and helps to reduce bad bacteria that can cause inflammation and inflammation-related diseases, like obesity. To get these benefits, look for an MCT Oil that contains lauric acid (found in coconut oil), and avoid MCT Oil supplements that come from palm oil. Lauric acid, in particular, is an MCT that is particularly beneficial for gut health.
5) Protects Heart Health
MCT Oil may also support a healthy heart in a number of ways, one of which is helping to improve cholesterol levels in the body. In studies, those who added MCT Oil to their diet on a regular basis saw reductions in “bad” LDL cholesterol and increases in good, heart-protective HDL cholesterol.
In addition, MCT Oil helps promote healthy blood pressure levels, and may decrease inflammation in the body. It’s been shown to significantly reduce something called “C-reactive protein (CRP)” in the body, which is an inflammatory marker that may increase the risk of heart disease.
What To Look For In The Best MCT Oil Supplements
In order to get the potential health and weight loss benefits of MCT Oil described above, you have to make sure you get a top-quality brand with the following attributes:
- Comes purely from coconut oil (not inferior palm oil)
- Extracted with proven quality control and without solvents
- Free from fillers, additives and flavorings
- Has a neutral smell and taste
- Contains high amounts of the two most beneficial MCTs (caprylic acid and capric acid)
- Provides 14g of healthy fats at only 130 calories per tablespoon
Tips for Using MCT Oil
One of the best things about MCT Oil is that it’s so easy to use, since it can be added into your drinks, as well as soups, sauces, salad dressings and marinades. It’s just not suggested that you heat MCT Oil to a high temperature since it has a low smoke point, meaning that the beneficial properties in it will break down when it’s heated.
Instead, try your MCT Oil in Keto coffee recipes, or in a daily meal replacement shake / smoothie. Curious which keto-friendly shake powders we recommend? See our list of the best low carb, keto-friendly shakes of 2019 here! Or, go directly to our number one pick: 310 Shake (+MCT Oil!)