MCT Oil: Common Uses and Benefits in 2021
Reviewed by Jaimee Gooley, R.D.
Written by Hannah Marchese
We’re always on the lookout for new products and ingredients that can boost our health, right?! While eating a balanced diet and eating foods that you love (that also make you feel good) is super important, it’s not always the easiest thing to do. We sure experienced that, living in New York City running from meeting to meeting with very little time let alone options for getting in nutrients. Just like for us, many people, getting essential nutrients in their daily diet can be hard work.
That’s where supplements come in.
Supplements include vitamins, powders, capsules, and liquids of various things that are designed to improve your health and fill in any gaps in your nutrition. Supplements range from daily multivitamins to turmeric, vitamin D to magnesium, calcium, and more.
One such supplement that has gained recent popularity is MCT oil. Otherwise known as medium-chain triglycerides, this sexy oil has a variety of health benefits and uses. MCT oil can do wonders for your body, from everyday people to athletes who train with high intensity.
Let’s dive in and explore MCT oil’s common uses and benefits and see if it’s a supplement you should consider taking!
What Is MCT Oil?
Let’s take a minute to break down the science behind MCT oil. As we mentioned, the acronym stands for medium-chain triglycerides, which means it contains chains of fat (triglycerides) that are medium-length. This makes them more easily digested than long chains, which can be found in many foods.
It is most commonly extracted from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, which is part of why coconut oil has gained a recent boost in popularity. There are four different types of MCT total, including caprylic and capric acid, which are the two most commonly used in MCT oil as a supplement.
MCT oil is created through a process called fractionation, in which the MCT is removed from the original oil (in this case, coconut oil). It is then concentrated into a supplement form.
Is MCT Oil the Same As Coconut Oil?
Before we dive into all things MCT oil, it’s important to note one thing: it is not the same as coconut oil. Many people actually confuse these two oils and believe they offer the same benefits. People often confuse MCT oil and coconut oil because MCT is commonly extracted from coconut oil.
Most of the fat found in coconut oil is from lauric acid, which is a long-chain triglyceride. The rest of the fat content comes from MCTs. Therefore, coconut oil is not a stand-alone source of MCT.
What Are the Benefits of MCT Oil?
One of the reasons that MCT oil has become so widely popular is because of the fact there are so many different benefits. Almost anyone can take MCT oil and find some sort of benefit from it. We will talk about all of the benefits in detail, but here are a few of them:
- Appetite control
- Boost of healthy fats
- Improves energy levels
- Athletic endurance
- Can help with ketosis
As you can see, there are a wide variety of different benefits. The average person can benefit from the improvement in energy, while an athlete can benefit from a boost in endurance. Let’s get into the benefit of knitty gritty a little bit more.
Girl, you’re already perfect, but If you are looking to help appetite regulation or simply want to promote satiety, MCT oil might be able to help you out. Medium-chain fats may help to control appetite. One study suggests MCT is able to supply the liver with readily available energy while also promoting satiety. This means that taking MCT oil before eating may help signal your body that you are full or not as hungry as you think you are.
If you are trying to lose weight, always consult your doctor or dietitian first to make a plan that works for your body!
Boost of Healthy Fats
This one is kind of obvious, but MCT oil is a fat that is derived from a clean source (typically coconut oil). If you are simply looking to increase your intake of healthy fats on a daily basis, MCT oil can be a great way to do so. Not to mention, a great addition to your favorite salad dressing.
Other sources of healthy fats include avocados and seafood. MCT oil is similar in its nutritional fat content. One tablespoon of MCT oil contains 14 grams of fat.
Improve Energy Levels
Feeling tired and coffee just not doing the trick? You’re not alone.
Many people choose to avoid caffeine for various reasons. For some, it just doesn’t work. One alternative might be MCT oil, which you can add to your morning beverage of choice.
Medium-chain fats are an essential part of our body’s energy metabolizing process. They are directly used in the process, so the consumption of MCT oil may help boost this process and result in you feeling more energized.
If you are an athlete or someone who goes to the next level at the gym, then MCT oil might be the next supplement you need to try. Medium-chain fats can be digested much more quickly than long-chain fats. This is why people often choose to consume MCT over LCT; it’s more fast-acting and gets to work in your body more quickly.
When it comes to working out or competing at a high level, there’s nothing more important than what you put into your body to fuel it.
One study found that the daily consumption of MCT oil reduces carbohydrates for energy and increases the utilization of fatty acids for energy. This allows the body to perform at a higher intensity for longer periods of time.
It Can Help You Stay in Ketosis
This is an interesting benefit and one that many people don’t know about. If you are on the Keto diet or are interested in trying it, then this is right up your alley. When you are on the Ketogenic diet, you are trying to reach a state of ketosis. This involves eating a diet that is high in fat and low in protein and carbs.
MCT oil is already ketogenic as they are converted to ketones. Studies suggest taking it might improve the time in which it takes your body to reach ketosis. Due to their specific metabolic properties, other studies also suggest MCT oil can offer a shortcut to ketosis when taken as a part of your daily diet.
If you are following the Keto diet, it might be worthwhile to see if MCT oil can help you!
Ways To Add MCT Oil to Your Diet
Now that you know all about the various benefits of MCT oil, we’d bet you’re already adding it to your prime basket or googling how to use it! There are a few different ways you can begin to incorporate MCT oil into your daily life.
It’s important to remember that you will likely not see results overnight. As with any supplement, it will take time for your body to recognize the supplement and utilize it in the right way. That being said, MCT oil is digested more quickly than longer chains of fat, so there’s a good chance you will start to see results more quickly.
Here are four different ideas for how you can add MCT oil to your diet.
Take a Spoonful Each Day
Unlike with some supplements (like cod liver oil), MCT oil has a plain taste. It actually tastes pretty similar to coconut oil, so if you don’t mind the taste of that, you should have no problem with MCT oil. If you are looking for the easiest way to get a dose of this oil daily, you can simply take it as is, straight from the bottle!
Everyone is different, so ask your doctor or dietician how much you should be taking. As a general rule of thumb, you can start by taking one tablespoon each day and work your way up to four to seven tablespoons daily, depending on your activity level and specific needs, such as infection prevention, enhanced gut health, and digestion.
If you’re looking for the tastiest and most satiating way to get your MCT oil, look no further. All of our Kalumi bars contain MCT oil, along with other high quality ingredients to not only deliver nutrients, but to truly offer sustenance. These additional ingredients include eight grams of marine collagen, which is absorbed more easily than other types of collagen as well as cocoa butter, sweet potato, and nut butters (either almond or cashew depending on the flavor you choose).
Packed with good-for-you ingredients and delicious flavors, you won’t want to get your MCT oil any other way. They make a great snack for any time of day, and work well when you’re on the go.
Who doesn’t love a good smoothie?
Smoothies are great in the mornings, and they work well after workouts for protein boosts and clean snacks. The best part about smoothies is that you can make any kind you want based on your favorite ingredients and taste preferences. There’s a healthy and delicious recipe no matter what you like!
Here are two different MCT oil smoothie recipes for you to try:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie:
- One banana, frozen and cut in half
- Two dates (pitted)
- Two tbsp peanut butter (powder or raw)
- Two tbsp raw cocoa powder
- One-Fourth tbsp MCT oil
- Protein powder of choice
- Coconut milk
Blend the ingredients until creamy and smooth. If it’s too liquidy, you can add more frozen bananas. Protein-packed and tastes like a peanut butter cup!
Berries and Greens Smoothie:
- One cup of frozen berries of choice (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)
- A handful of spinach or kale (or both!)
- Two tbsp MCT oil
- Half cup liquid of choice (we like almond milk or coconut milk)
- One-fourth cup of frozen avocado
Blend all your ingredients until you achieve your desired consistency. You can always add more liquid or other additives like chia seeds or collagen powder.
Use It for Baking Clean Treats
Skipping the salads? If you love to bake and want to start incorporating MCT oil into your diet, you’re in luck! Especially if you plan to make changes for healthy living and even weight loss.
MCT oil can absolutely be used in baking! In theory, you can just use it in place of the oil a recipe calls for (like vegetable oil or palm oil) but always double-check if it’s a one-to-one ratio switch.
Looking for a super-tasty and healthy baked treat? Check out this recipe for Collagen and MCT oil banana bread!
- Three ripe bananas
- Two cups of whole wheat flour
- Half cup of maple syrup
- One-fourth cup nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter - whatever you prefer!)
- One tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Two teaspoons of baking powder
- One teaspoon of cinnamon
- Two tablespoons MCT oil
- Two tablespoons Kalumi Marine Collagen Powder
Mash the bananas and add in your wet ingredients. Then add in your dry ingredients and mix everything into a thick batter. Grease your baking tin or line it with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for around 40 minutes. Enjoy!
Kalumi Pro Tip: Take a Sweet Potato + Cinnamon bar and crush it up into smaller pieces to top your finished banana bread with for an extra sprinkle of flavor. Yum!
Wrapping It Up
By now, you can see that MCT oil is a powerful supplement that can help you in many ways -- even in powder form.
Whether you need an energy boost or simply want to add more healthy fats and antioxidants to your diet, MCT oil can help.
There are approximately 120 calories in one tablespoon of MCT oil, which is important to note if you are counting calories. This is also why many athletes like to take a few tablespoons of it each day; it’s an easy (and healthy) way to up your caloric intake.
Feel free to try out the recipes for smoothies and banana bread that we gave you, but also we encourage you to make them your own or branch out and create your own recipes (and yes, please do share!) There are so many ways to use MCT oil in your daily cooking and baking.
And remember: if you are looking for a quick, delicious, and easy way to get your MCT oil, our Kalumi bars are perfect and convenient solutions. Try all four flavors, and let us know which one you like best!
Coconut Oil | Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Enhancing Skin Health: By Oral Administration of Natural Compounds and Minerals with Implications to the Dermal Microbiome | NCBI
MCT oil calories, carbs & nutrition facts | My Fitness Pal
Short- and medium-chain fatty acids in energy metabolism: the cellular perspective | NCBI
Effect of ingestion of medium-chain triacylglycerols on moderate- and high-intensity exercise in recreational athletes | NCBI
Impact of medium and long-chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men | NCBI
Ketosis After Intake of Coconut Oil and Caprylic Acid—With and Without Glucose: A Cross-Over Study in Healthy Older Adults | NCBI
The Effect of Medium Chain Triglycerides on Time to Nutritional Ketosis and Symptoms of Keto-Induction in Healthy Adults: A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial | NCBI