With the keto diet being the hottest trend this season, oils have been getting a lot of love. We’re eating them, drinking them, cooking with them and adding them to all the baked goods. Healthy fats have (thankfully) made their comeback, with two in particular that have gotten the spotlight: coconut oil and MCT oil.
Both of these oils are great sources of healthy fat that help to keep you fueled and satisfied all day long but let’s dive a little deeper to see if it’s worth all the hype.
Coconut Oil vs MCT Oil — What’s The Difference?
Coconut oil is the oil that is extracted from the meat of matured coconuts. It’s been getting a lot of love in the health and wellness world because it’s a natural oil. Coconut oil also has a higher flash or smoke point (171 C), which means that you can use it to cook foods at a higher temperature without causing inflammation to your body. With inflammation being one of the leading causes of illness, this is something that’s important to be mindful about!
Coconut oil is also one of the best sources of lauric acid, which many studies have shown has antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. Lauric acid is one of the longer forms of carbon chains, meaning it takes longer to digest in the body.
MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) can be found in coconut oil, making up roughly 62 per cent of the oils MCT being composed of a 6-to-12 carbon chain. Although MCTs are found in coconut oil, MCT oil on its own is much more concentrated and contains mostly capric acid and caprylic acid, which are shorter carbon chains and are used more quickly and effectively in the body.
You can also find smaller amounts of MCTs in foods like grass-fed ghee and butter, cheeses, and whole and full-fat yoghurt.
What Are The Benefits of Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCTs)
Medium-chain fats are shorter chain acids, which means they are digested easily and go to your liver more quickly. This causes a thermogenesis effect and can help to boost metabolism which is why MCT oil is an attractive option for those trying to lose weight and get their energy mainly from fats.
MCTs are also known for providing you with quick energy and improved cognition, hence dieters throwing it into their morning brew. They also support your gut environment, especially since they have the capability to combat harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
There are actually a few different forms of MCTs, some that are likely more effective than others:
- caprioc (acid C6:0)
- caprylic (acid C8:0)
- capric (acid C10:0)
- lauric (acid C12:0)
Why Is MCT Oil Such a Hot Topics?
For years people have been looking for the best oils to cook with, just have a look over the oil section at your local grocery store. Due to the recent rise of the ketogenic diet and The Bulletproof Diet, MCTs have been getting a lot of attention.
The “Bulletproof Diet” written by Dave Asprey, is a dietary approach that recommends you receive 50 per cent to 70 per cent of your energy from healthy fats, especially MCT oil, grass-fed butter and coconut oil. Doing so you will lose weight and have better cognition. The diet’s signature drink is the “bulletproof coffee” made up of coffee, MTC, and butter.
The Bottom Line
Both coconut oil and MCT oil are packed with saturated fats. In excess, it’s extremely taxing on the pancreas and the liver to constantly be digesting and metabolizing saturated fats, which is why I advise clients to be mindful and not go overboard.
But, they both have their benefits, so enjoy both coconut oil and quality MCT oil for their numerous benefits in moderate amounts. As with any oil, make sure you buy a high-quality brand that clearly states what the ingredients are and how it was produced.
References:6 Health Benefits of MCT Oil, Including for Weight Loss
MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil: What’s the Difference?
MCT oil vs coconut oil: Are they good for you?