MCT Oil and Keto: Why Supplementing With MCT Oil Helps Weight Loss
Article at a Glance:
- MCT oil is an essential supplement for people who want to reap the benefits of burning fat for fuel — aka ketosis.
- When your body is in ketosis, you produce ketones. Ketones help curb food cravings, increase your energy levels, and increase your metabolic rate.
- Certain strains of MCT oil are more effectively broken down into ketones. Caprylic acid (C8) is the gold standard because it most effectively provides energy for your cells.
- With MCT oil, you can increase your total carbohydrate intake without spiking your blood sugar levels and igniting carb cravings. This makes it easier to stay in ketosis without wrecking your thyroid or sleep quality from carb restriction.
The Ketogenic diet is a powerful way to lose weight, burn fat, and kick sugar cravings to the curb. Supplementing your keto diet with MCT oil makes ketosis easier and more effective.
You reap all the benefits of keto when you’re in ketosis, a state in which your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel. Of course, in a world filled with refined sugars and processed carbohydrates, getting into ketosis (and staying there) is the hard part. Fortunately, MCT oil makes it easier to burn fat like a boss.
Keep reading to find out why MCT oil and keto work so well together — and how you can upgrade your fat-burning benefits.
What you should know about MCT oil
Fatty acids are the building blocks of fat, both in your body and in your food. Fatty acid molecules have chains of carbon atoms. The length of the chain determines how they work in your body.
“MCT” stands for “medium chain triglycerides,” a type of fatty acid. MCTs are naturally found in coconut oil, and they have a few unique properties that make them an essential part of your keto fat-burning toolkit.
The big takeaway is that, unlike short-chain and long-chain fatty acids, certain strains of MCTs aren’t digested by your stomach. These strains, called caproic acid (C6, or 6 carbon chains), caprylic acid (C8), and capric acid (C10), actually skip your gut altogether. They go straight to your liver, where they’re broken down into ketones and distributed in your bloodstream.
Your body produces ketones when it’s burning fat for fuel — aka ketosis. When you supplement your diet with MCTs, your body produces more ketones, which means there’s more available fuel for your cells. Ketones have also been shown to help curb food cravings, increase your energy levels, and increase your metabolism.[
Those benefits are a big deal for people who want to get more ketones in their system and stay in ketosis. However, this doesn’t mean that you can chase your bagel with a shot of MCT oil and call yourself keto. You still have to stick to a low-carb, high-fat diet to help your body burn fat for fuel.
Where MCT oil comes up short
Remember those different strains of MCT oil — C6, C8, and C10? MCT oil is a classic case of “buyer beware.” You have to do your research to determine what specific strain of MCTs the manufacturer is using in their products.
Some formulas are diluted with lauric acid (C12), which is cheaper than other MCTs — but not as effective at quickly producing ketones. C12 will still provide your body with a fat fuel source, but for the most bang for your buck, you’re better off supplementing with pure C8 MCT oil.
C8, or caprylic acid, is the gold standard of MCTs because it’s the easiest fat for your body to quickly turn into cellular fuel. It’s also way more powerful than coconut oil. One tablespoon of Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil, a triple-distilled C8 MCT oil, is equivalent to 18 tablespoons of coconut oil. (That’s a lot of ketones.) Other acids, like C10, will still give you a metabolic boost — but not as intensely as C8 alone will.
Also, even though MCT oil can help you stay in ketosis, you might be doing more harm than good if you limit your carbohydrates for too long. More on that below.
How to use MCT oil on the keto diet
MCT oil is flavorless and odorless, so it’s easy to add to your diet. Blend it into Bulletproof Coffee, use it to make tasty salad dressings, or add it to your pre-workout meal. If you’ve never used MCT oil before, start with just 1 teaspoon and slowly increase the amount as your body adjusts.
On the standard ketogenic diet, you consume less than 50 grams of total carbs per day. Some people thrive within that range, while others experience sleep problems, thyroid issues, and fatigue when they restrict their carbs for extended periods. If you experience any of these symptoms, you might need to adjust your carb intake or try carb cycling (aka cyclical ketosis).
You can actually use MCT oil to hack your carb intake without wrecking the benefits of ketosis. When you eat carbohydrates, your blood sugar spikes because your body converts those carbohydrates into glucose. However, according to Bulletproof Founder Dave Asprey, C8 increases your ketone levels so effectively that your brain will consume the ketones it prefers instead of glucose. That means you can hack your carb refeed days without spiking your blood sugar levels and igniting food cravings.
As an example, check out this research on Combining fat from coconut oil and white rice so it doesn’t cause your blood sugar levels to go haywire. (That’s also why Asprey drizzles Brain Octane Oil on his sushi.)
In short, MCT oil is a powerful supplement when you’re following a low-carb, high-fat diet. Burn fat, increase your focus, and stay in ketosis by using high-quality MCTs like pure C8, and don’t be afraid to experiment with your carbohydrate levels.