You’ve been looking for ways to eat and feel healthier, and you’ve heard of people using MCT oil as a protein boost in different food and beverages. Since the rise of the ketogenic diet, many people have joined in and made the change to lead a healthier life and possibly lose weight. But is MCT oil healthy or useful for those not following the carb-restricting diet?
Understanding Medium-chain Triglycerides
Your body uses numerous types of fats, which are often classified by the comparative size of their molecular structure. For example, long-chain triglycerides contain 13 to 21 carbon atoms and usually takes longer for the body to digest than medium or short-chain fatty acids.
Medium-chain triglycerides, more commonly known as MCTs, feature six to 12 carbon atoms, making them the perfect size for quick absorption by the liver and conversation into ketones. In the absence of glucose from carbohydrates, the body will use the ketones.
Laboratories make MCT oils through fractionation of coconut oil and palm oil go through extraction. The acids then pass through a series of chemical processes to create pure, concentrated triglyceride enzymes.
Why MCT Oil Works for the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat diet that is low in carbohydrates and adequate in protein. Since your body naturally prefers to use glucose from carbohydrates as a source of energy, drastically reducing your carb intake forces your body to reach for another source. When your diet is high in MCTs, your body uses ketones instead of glucose, prompting the fat-burning state of ketosis. Many people use MCT oil on keto to not only hit ketosis but boost their energy levels since they consume little-to-no carbohydrates.
So, if you use MCT oil while still consuming carbs, your body will naturally absorb glucose for energy and store any unused fat away. However, this doesn’t mean MCT oil is useless or detrimental to those not on the keto diet. Due to the unique properties of MCTs, the oil offers numerous health benefits regardless of your carb intake.
Additional Uses and Benefits of MCT Oil
There is an abundance of benefits that MCT oil has to offer aside from contributing to the keto diet. For example:
- Fights Yeast and Bacteria– MCT oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties that may help to reduce the growth of yeast and fungal bacteria within the gut microbiome.
- Lowers Lactate Levels– A study showed that athletes who consumed six grams of MCT had lower lactate levels and were able to exercise more efficiently compared to those who consumed LCTs.
- May Help Control Epilepsy– Research shows that ketone production through fasting may reduce the frequency of epilepsy seizures. Since MCT oil can create ketones, it may help to manage epilepsy.
- Reduced Cholesterol Levels– In an NCBI study, 24 obese men consumed MCT oil and flaxseed oil for 29 days. Their cholesterol levels reduced by 12.9 percent as compared to those consuming olive oil, which contributed to a reduction of 4.7 percent.
One of the most significant drawbacks of using MCT oil is not seeing any change if you aren’t on the keto diet. Since your body still uses glucose, you may not see any changes or weight loss if that’s what you expect. While there are no known severe side effects of using MCT oil, you may experience the following:
- Stomach Cramps
The best way to prevent this is by consuming small amounts of MCT oil to see how your body reacts and slowly increase the quantity.
How to Incorporate MCT Oil into Everyday Life
You can easily add MCT oil into your daily diet. For example, you can try adding it to coffee, tea, smoothies, milkshakes, or keto drinks. Apart from this, you can add it to salad dressings, sandwich fillings, sauces, and condiments. MCT oil works as an energy booster and improves performance if you consume it in your meals or drinks pre-workout. Moreover, you can also drizzle it over your meals to get the same effect.
What Do You Want Out of MCTs?
If you’re considering trying out MCT oil, you should think about what you hope to gain. You may want to eat healthier, and you can try it as an alternative to vegetable oil or olive oil if that’s the case. If you’re trying to lose weight, it may be a good idea to pair a keto diet with your MCT oil to achieve the best results.