In life, we’re always talking about must haves. If you’re driving a high end car, you must have the top of the line motor oil coursing through its cylinders. If you’re competing at a high level in a track competition, state of the art running shoes are a must have. When you’re celebrating a huge quarter at the office, the finest bourbon is a must have. I would submit to you, that if you’re serious about a ketogenic lifestyle, MCT Oil is a must have.
MCT Oil provides a heavy dose of the very fuels that turn your body into – and keep it – a fat burning machine. Unlike LCTs, MCTs bypass much of the digestion process that others fats go through. MCTs act in an almost carb-like manner in how they’re sent directly to the liver, where they are used for energy.
There are many reasons why MCT Oil makes perfect sense for your Ketogenic Diet.
What is MCT (medium chain triglyceride) Oil?
MCT Oil. You have most likely heard this term thrown around if you’ve been researching ways to optimize your ketogenic diet, but do you know what it is? A trap that many fall into when they begin a fitness journey is purchasing supplements that every “swears by,” but never truly researching for themselves why these supplements are “must haves.”
Keys to Ketosis believe wholeheartedly in the value of MCT Oil, but we don’t want you to purchase one drop of it without knowing what it is, and why it’s vital to your fat burning lifestyle. So let’s start with the acronym: MCT
M – Medium
C – Chain
T – Triglyceride
Firstly, the “Medium” is to differentiate these from LCTs (long chain triglycerides) in that there’s a difference in length of the aliphatic tails of each triglyceride. MCTs have an aliphatic tail that is 6 – 12 carbons in length, whereas LCTs have an aliphatic tail that is 13 – 21 carbons in length.
The “chain” portion of the term comes from the action of the fatty acid chains attaching to the glycerol backbone to make up the compound.
A triglyceride is an ester that is created from this glycerol, fatty acid connection. Triglycerides are essential in the makeup of human body fat, and also other various forms of fat.
In terms of ketogenic diet facts – medium chain triglycerides are relevant because of their unique ability to be absorbed by the liver in an efficient manner that resembles the way carbs are used by the human body. MCTs pass up the lymphatic system – which absorbs LCTs – and are easily metabolized.
So, in short, MCT (medium chain triglyceride) Oil is relevant to the Ketogenic Diet because you are giving your body fatty acids that will quickly be converted into ketone bodies instead of the alternative energy, glucose, which is derived from carbs.
MCT Oil allows you to kickstart ketosis by cutting out the error often found in accidental digestion of carbs.
MCT Oil helps you get into Ketosis faster
As you already know, MCTs go to your liver, and act in a “carb-like” manner that LCTs do not have the ability to do. This means that you can theoretically kickstart Ketosis by following these steps:
1. Fast with no breakFAST.
If you’ve been out of Ketosis for awhile and you want to efficiently get back into a fat burning state, a mix of fasting and MCT Oil will do the job. Just eat a very low carb dinner, or even skip dinner, and then wake up and don’t eat breakfast! Instead, drink a cup of coffee, and put a tablespoon or two of MCT Oil into your coffee and head out!
The shot of MCT Oil, plus the already fasted state of your body will have you back into Ketosis quicker than if you tried to just slowly eat your way back into Ketosis (i.e. nutritional Ketosis). It’s also worth adding that the energy you get from the MCT Oil and the coffee will be unlike what you were used to: the MCTs provide a prolonged energy that isn’t comparable to energy derived from glycogen.
2. Meal replacement with MCT Oil
Another benefit that comes from using MCT Oil in your Ketogenic Diet plan is using it as a meal replacement.
This somewhat resembles the previous point of fasting with MCT Oil, but the difference is that you’re still eating other regular Ketogenic meals, except your replacing (at least) one of those meals with some MCT Oil.
One of the benefits of MCT Oil is its ability to satiate your appetite. So while it sounds initially scary to just depend a few tablespoons of oil for a meal replacement, your body will become accustomed as you do it more and more. The MCTs will act as replacement for what’s normally there (glycogen) and your fierce-badger-hunger cravings will lesson.
In our fast paced, 21st century lifestyle, the benefits of being able to remain in Ketosis while only slurping a few tablespoons of MCTs cannot be overstated.
3. Ramp up your Ketogenic dishes with MCT Oil
MCT Oil’s versatility is amazing. Let’s say you’re already in Ketosis, but you’re about to eat a salad for your daily carbs, and you want to keep it 100 on the Keto life. It’s easy! Just use MCT for a base to your dressing, and you can rest assured that you’ll still be burning fat after you’ve downed your greens!
Another way to use MCTs in your favorite Ketogenic meals is to use it as a replacement for regular oil in baking! There’s a whole ocean of Keto baking recipes out there, so why not double down and use MCT Oil instead of regular coconut oil.
But what if you’re not baking? What if you’re out for a jog and you want to implement the energy efficiency of MCT Oil? How about a nice Keto “sports drink”. All you have to do is to add it to water, and then squeeze in some lemon juice, and you’ll have a healthier, non-sugary sports drink for long workouts in the sun!
There are many ways to skin a cat, and there’s also many ways to amplify your Ketogenic Diet. MCTs are essential to your body transforming into a fat burning machine. Unfortunately, you’re not always going to be able to get the proper amounts from a diet alone – you’ll need a boost, and MCT Oil is that boost.
Life is full of “must haves,” and your diet does not fall out of the realm of this mantra. If you want to live a truly Ketogenic lifestyle, you’re going to have invest in the right fuels, and implement them in the most efficient ways possible. So what’s the benefit of MCT Oil to your Ketogenic Diet plan? The answer: efficiency. An efficient diet, which feeds an efficient lifestyle, that ultimately gives you more time to do the things you love.
MCT Oils We Can Highly Recommend
As you press further into a keto life, you’ll discover that there is an entire world of MCT Oils: different brands, different claims, different doses. To help you navigate this world, we’ve listed a few of the MCT Oils that we have found help us burn fat, and perform at a high level.
Listed below are the brands that we believe provide great value, and great results!
Onnit MCT Oil
The Onnit brand is quickly becoming one of the leaders in human optimization, and they haven’t spared any energy creating this amazing product!
Coming in a 24oz bottle, and priced at $22.95, this product is a “no nonsense” MCT Oil, meaning that it provides you with the MCTs oil without any flavoring, or excessive promises. Cut and dry, this product is going to give your body the MCTs it needs to burn as ketones.
The taste isn’t the best, and at first takes a lot of getting used to. But if you’re mixing it in a morning coffee, or protein shake, you’ll at least mitigate the strong taste. If you’re early in your ketogenic journey, and aren’t certain where to start in terms of MCTs, Keys to Ketosis believes that this is an excellent place to start.
Bulletproof Brain Octane
Owner/head guinea pig Dave Asprey stands by his product, and with good merit. He tests everything himself before his brand sends it out into the world.
He’s a great follow for information on an optimized life, and this product is a great asset to optimized performance, both physically and cognitively. Bulletproof Brain Octane comes in a 16 ounce bottle, with a price of 25.00. Obviously this product is a bit more expensive than the previously mentiones Onnit MCT Oil, but Asprey defends the price in one of the articles on his site.
Asprey claims that Brain Octane is pure C8 (Caprylic Acid), and suggests that Brain Octane (and C8) are elite amongst their peers because:
It has potent anti-microbial properties (way more potent than lauric acid) to help you maintain a healthy gut, and it is the fastest to metabolize in the brain. (This is Brain Octane Oil.) Your liver does not need to process this rare type of MCT, and it only takes 3 steps for your body to turn it into ATP, the cellular fuel you use. Sugar takes 26 steps.
This is why Brain Octane is so good at suppressing cravings and is the most powerful oil to put in Bulletproof Coffee. You would need 18 tablespoons of coconut oil to get just one tablespoon of Brain Octane.
Once again, buyer beware: you don’t buy this product for the taste. But if you’re confident in the optimization ability of MCTs, this is a must have product to start your day with. (Check out the original recipe here)
Onnit Emulsified MCTs
Hold your nose and chug.
That’s how many of us have gotten used to taking MCT Oils. It isn’t pretty or delicious, but the value of MCTs for a fat-burning lifestyle can’t be missed due to taste. Until now, we’ve been relegated to sneaking shots of MCT Oil into our coffee, food, and protein shakes, hoping that we could mask the taste. But a new innovation has taken how we approach MCT Oils, and flipped it on its head! Emulsified MCT Oils are changing the way you implement exogenous ketones into your day to day routine.
This product allows you to optimize your food and drink without sacrificing taste, or performance! This is because the new product from Onnit comes in three easily mixable flavors: Creamy Coconut, Creamy Strawberry, and Creamy Vanilla.
The list of ways to include Onnit Emulsified MCT oils into your diet goes on and on, but below, we’ve listed a few ways that you can add this supplement to your meal – optimizing what you’re putting into your body, and how you’re spending your meal prep time!
1. Adding it to your beverages
Emulsified MCT Oils present an amazing opportunity to spice up your morning routine. Now, we’re not saying that we don’t love our original BUlletproof coffee, we’re just saying that it’s nice to have an occasional changeup without sacrificing the fat burning benefits.
If you’re living the Ketogenic lifestyle, chances are you’ve to become very familiar with butter. Whether it’s in your coffee, or slathered on your food, butter plays an integral roll in providing a fat source for your diet.
With Emulsified MCT Oil from Onnit, you can take your butter game to the next level by adding flavor, and MCTs!
Now Sports MCT Oil
If you’re still concerned with price, the last member in our MCT Oils list will be your best bet if you are in the testing phases of a ketogenic lifestyle.
Now Sports makes a very straightforward MCT Oil that many of its users say has little to no poor taste, which is a positive if you have difficulty with the taste of other MCTs. It can be included in drinks, salad dressings, protein shakes, and many more of your everyday foods. However, use caution if you’re using it with heat (in cooking) as it has a very low boiling point.
One difference between this, and another “straightforward” MCT like Onnit’s is that this MCT Oil uses palm oil, while one of Onnit’s main selling points is that it does not use palm oil. Palm oil suppliers have been connected to deforestation, and habitat destruction, so keep that in mind while shopping for products.
Whichever MCT you decide to use, we hope this article helped you get some clarity on the differences between some of the major MCT producers/brands. It is our belief that this product is essential to optimizing your ketogenic lifestyle. The less time you spend thinking about where you’re going to be getting your fuel from, the more time you have to live your life, and enjoy your health!
And don’t get it twisted, nutritional ketosis is still the base of the ketogenic lifestyle, but there will be days where you simply won’t have time to make your meal. There will be weeks where you will forget to prep – and MCT Oils will come in handy on those days, keeping you satiated, and away from the dreaded back of the cupboard carbs!
About the Author Nate Arnold
I started this website because it was hard to find trustworthy, evidence-based information about the ketogenic diet. Information that was published and peer reviewed by respected scientific journals. After years of research, I'm sure you'll achieve great results in a healthy way following my advice. I do my best to translate scientific research jargon into plain English. Remember, it's always a good idea to consult a doctor before starting a new diet!