What is MCT Oil & What Does It Do For You?

Wed, 05 Dec 2018

Consumption of oil in recent years has surged as more are getting educated on its benefits. Instead of fearing all oils having a negative impact on cholesterol levels and what not, the masses are starting to recognise the beneficial properties of certain oils in our diets.

Specific essential fatty acids which are needed to maintain overall body health and function, such as vitamin absorption or lowering cholesterol,cannot be produced naturally by the body.

This is when oils come into our diets, as the previously mentioned essential fatty acids can only be obtained from certain oils. With the many variant oil choices out there, let’s focus on the latest Superfood term to hit our shores - MCT Oil.

Move over cold-pressed olive or coconut oils, the newest heavyweight contender is here.

What is MCT Oil?

Trending: #MCToil

Let’s start off with a short science lesson to get a better grasp of MCT Oil.

Triglycerides, the main constituent of fat, contain fatty acids that are made up of chains of carbon atoms, where different types can have as many as 13 to 24 atoms (long-chain triglycerides), to 6 or fewer (short-chain triglyceride). For the inbetween of 8 to 12 atoms, there is MCT - an acronym for Medium-chain Triglycerides.

Until recent progress in extraction methods, MCTs can be found in certain oils such as coconut or palm kernel oil. However, MCTs only present a small fraction in these oils, alongside other bigger components of short and long-chain triglycerides. Hence coconut oil should not be confused as being interchangeable to MCT oil.

MCT oil as a standalone extract, on the other hand, contain 95% MCT.

What’s the Big Deal about MCT Oil?


Studies have shown that these different chains of triglycerides are processed by the body differently.

Short Chain

  • 6 or fewer atoms
  • Slower to digest and be absorbed than MCT

Medium Chain

  • 8 to 12 atoms
  • Quicker to digest and be absorbed
  • Fewer calories than LCT

Long Chain

  • 13 to 24 atoms
  • Slower to digest and be absorbed

Improve Weight-loss Efforts & Metabolism

Long-chain Triglycerides tend to be processed slower, hence fat gets stored in the body easily whereas MCTs are much quicker to digest and absorb in the small intestines due to their lower molecular weight and increased solubility. Gut health is improved, and digestive issues are reduced.

Studies have also shown that MCTs help in preserving one’s satiety - the feeling of being full, and having a thermogenic effect in the body that can help in weight loss.

Energy Boost


In addition, due to the rapid digestion and absorption of MCTs, the MCT oil is quickly metabolised as fuel for the body. Hence, an increase in energy expenditure can be observed.

MCTs have gained in popularity with people seeking to increase energy levels and enhance endurance during high-intensity exercise, as well as serving as an alternative energy source for athletes on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets.

Everything in Moderation

As MCT Oil is a saturated fat, it is important to note that saturated fat in is still considered to be a major risk factor for coronary heart disease by reputable scientific communities around the world. Consuming MCT Oil in moderation is key to deriving its health benefits without putting a strain on our cardiovascular system.

MCT Oil is generally considered to be energy dense with each tablespoon equating to 100 calories. Therefore, individuals looking to achieve a caloric deficit for weight loss must be mindfully aware not to over consume most oils in general to prevent weight gain.

With the above information, perhaps it’s time to consider looking into your diet to see how you can incorporate MCT oil or replace current oils for that spike in energy, and extra help in weight management.

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