Have you heard about the side effects associated with MCT Oils?
Some people said they experienced severe stomach discomfort.
Others even talked about having extreme belly pain.
Worse, you may find some statements talking about severe skin irritation.
Now you may think all of these effects are enough to scare you off and never take a drop of MCT oil in your life.
What if we tell you that there’s more to MCT oils than just the controversial side effects?
What if you discovered that this might be the way to help you reach ketosis faster?
What if it can help you enjoy the benefits of your keto diet quicker?
Now, we’ve got you to hook, line and sinker, right?
But before you purchase just any MCT oil that you would come across, we suggest reading this article first.
We’ll share the real deal about MCT oils and their effect on the ketogenic diet if you're ready!
Let’s get started!
What are MCTs?
Some of you may know MCTs stands for Medium-chain triglycerides.
In other blogs or books, it refers to Medium-chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs).
Their name pertains to the length of the carbon chain that these fatty acids contain.
MCTs, have around 6 to 12 Carbons in length. (1)
There are two ways the body uses fatty acids-- stored as fat or burned for energy, which will depend on how they are metabolized.
The number of Carbon items that they have is what makes these fatty acids unique.
You see, the digestion process of fatty acids takes place by the removal of carbon atoms.
Short-chain fatty acids get easily digested by the body, while the long-chain fatty acids are stored as fats.
With the number of Carbon atoms in MCTs, they can bypass the standard digestion process.
Instead, they are easily absorbed into the bloodstream and will go directly to the liver.
At this point, the MCTs have two fates—to be used as an instant fuel source or converted into ketone bodies. (2)
Can MCT Oil Help You Get Into the State of Ketosis Faster?
Since we’ve already mentioned ketones, we now need to address this critical question.
But before we do that, let us first talk about what nutritional ketosis is.
The state of ketosis occurs when the body’s carbohydrate levels are no longer enough to meet its energy requirements.
At this stage, the body starts to burn fat instead of sugar as its primary fuel.
The most significant hallmarks of ketosis are decreased blood sugar levels and increased ketone levels.
This usually takes place when you’re on a low carbohydrate diet like the keto diet.
This is where medium-chain triglyceride will come in.
As mentioned, these fatty acids can be converted into ketones when they enter the liver.
Because of this, the consumption of MCT oils can increase blood ketone levels in the body, allowing you to reach ketosis faster.
To make the long story short, MCT oil can help you get into the state of ketosis faster.
Aside from weight loss, ketosis benefits also include improving insulin sensitivity, improved Parkinson’s symptoms, and improved heart disease risk factors. (3)
Weight Loss Benefits of MCT Oils
In addition to helping you reach ketosis, MCT also offers plenty of other weight loss benefits that can be useful for your ketogenic diet.
After all, it’s not known as the fat that can help you lose fat for nothing.
With that in mind, here are some of the potential weight loss benefits of a medium-chain triglyceride.
It has a lower calorie content as compared to other fats.
The main difference between MCT and LCTs is the former has lower calorie content than the latter.
It’s said that there are around 8.3 calories per gram of MCT and nine calories per gram of LCT. (4)
Because of this, MCT serves as a good source of fats when you’re on the keto diet.
The body rarely stores MCT as fat.
As mentioned, fatty acids have two fates: fat or burned for energy sources.
Because of its unique composition, MCT is rarely stored as fat.
This may be because this fatty acid's metabolic behavior is similar to that of carbs in the sense that the body tends to prioritize burning fat for fuel the same way it does with sugar.
The great thing is the body still metabolizes fatty acid the same way, even if you consume meals with both MCT and carbs.
When you have plenty of ketones in your blood levels, the body will switch to burning fat as a source of energy.
This allows you to get rid of the excessive body fat you’ve wanted to get rid of.
On the other hand, the process of digesting LCTs is lengthy and complicated.
That’s why the long-chain fatty acids that we consume are most likely stored as fat.
With this benefit, MCT oils can help boost the fat-burning effects of the keto diet.
MCT helps regulate our appetite.
Fats have been known to keep us fuller for longer.
Among all the other types of fat, it’s MCT that’s most effective in keeping us satiated. (5)
The longer you feel full, the less likely that you’ll overeat.
Because of this, you are incorporating MCT oil in your ketogenic diet can help you minimize your calorie consumption.
This fatty acid can give you this benefit because of its ability to stimulate ketone production.
It can boost ketone production.
One of the main objectives of the keto diet is to stay in ketosis.
This state offers plenty of benefits in the body because of the amounts of ketones in your blood.
- First of all, a ketone body is an instant energy source that will give your energy the boost it needs, minus the crash associated with carbs.
- Second, ketones are also known to suppress appetite.
The combination of these two mechanisms will help you lose weight fast.
MCT oils can help boost brain and cognitive function.
Ketones are not just great energy sources for the muscles—it also provides energy for the brain.
With higher levels of ketones in your blood, your mind and cognitive function will also significantly improve.
This may not be related to weight loss.
Still, we must emphasize this benefit because it can help manage the brain fog associated with the ketogenic diet.
In addition to weight loss benefits, MCT oils also offer plenty of health benefits, including:
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Lower blood sugar levels
- Support for liver disease, steatorrhea (fat indigestion), and diarrhea
Where do you Get MCTs?
There are plenty of good food sources for medium-chain triglycerides.
These include coconut oil, whole milk, palm kernel oil, and butter.
However, their MCT Oil composition differs.
For example, coconut oil contains about 42% lauric acid and only small amounts of other types of MCTs like the Capra fatty acids (C6, C8, and C10).
Keep in mind that not all MCT oils are created equal.
As compared to lauric acid, C8 and C10 fatty acids are considered to be more readily absorbed and can be easily used as an immediate energy source.
This is why most people advocate the addition of MCT oil supplements instead of just the consumption of food sources.
It’s the best way to ensure that you’re getting the right amount and type of MCT oils.
MCT Oil Side Effects (and How to Avoid It)
But of course, the use of MCT Oils is not always rainbows and butterflies.
This substance comes with a few side effects too. The good news is, the side effects are not as serious as other people claim them to be.
The majority of its side effects are tolerable. Here they are:
- Stomach discomfort
- Intestinal gas
As you may see, these side effects are the common digestive side effects.
As if that’s not enough, there’s an easy way to minimize the severity of such side effects. The best thing that you can do is experiment with your MCT oil dosage.
You should begin by taking 1 to 1.5 teaspoons.
With this dose, you can enjoy the slight benefits of MCT oils while carefully assessing your tolerance to it.
If you haven’t noticed any side effects, try to increase your dose by one teaspoon day after day.
Make sure to monitor closely for possible side effects.
If you don’t feel any, continue increasing your intake until you reach the recommended daily dose of 1 to 4 tablespoons.
Aside from these digestive symptoms, there’s also one side effect that you should steer clear of.
Studies show that the consumption of MCT oils may promote food allergies. (7)
This may be because MCT supplementation may cause an imbalance between Th1 and Th2—two types of T helper cells in our body.
While further studies are still needed to determine the extent of MCTs' ability to create food allergies, you must monitor any allergic reactions or sensitivity symptoms to any type of food that you’re consuming.
While this may be rare, it’s always better to be alert to act on it if ever this phenomenon happens to you.
How to Take MCTs Oil When on Keto
Because of the odourless and flavourless nature of MCT oil, it’s relatively easy to incorporate this supplement into your keto diet.
Here are some of the ways on how you can do that:
This is like an energy drink for people on the keto diet.
This high-fat coffee drink is intended to be a breakfast alternative for keto dieters.
Most people like it because it tastes great and delivers longer-lasting energy. However, keep in mind that you should only consume this in moderation.
To prepare this drink, you just need MCT oil, butter, ghee, coconut oil, almond milk, organic coffee, collagen, or cashew cream.
Bake With It.
Yes, you can use MCT oil for baking too!
That’s how versatile it is.
In baking, you can replace your coconut oil or butter with MCT oils.
But please keep in mind, MCT oil is not recommended for baking over 350F because it has a medium smoke index.
Use It As A Dressing.
Another great idea is to substitute your dressings or use them as part of your salad dressings.
Yes, MCT Oil can help your body reach ketosis faster.
Because of their unique characteristics and their benefits, taking MCT oils is recommended for people on a low-carb and high-fat diet like the ketogenic diet.
But to maximize its effects on your diet, you must choose your MCT oils carefully.
To make the most out of the keto diet benefits, there are also other keto supplements that you will need.
These include exogenous ketones, beta-hydroxybutyrate, electrolytes, and many more.
You should read our list on the keto supplements for you to add in your diet.