What is MCT oil?

Understanding one of the hottest foods of 2019
Published February 19, 2019

Has social media got you intrigued by the MCT oil craze? Maybe you’ve been blending it into your coffee along with some grass-fed butter and you’re wondering if all the health claims are true. One of 2019’s biggest supplement trends, MCT oil is predicted to have quite the year as a super nutrient. After all, it’s widely loved by weight loss gurus, endurance athletes, bodybuilders, and foodies alike. Is the hype behind MTC oil too good to be true? Let’s take a closer look at the world of MCTs and fat metabolization.


What are MCTs?


An acronym for medium-chain triglycerides, MCTs are the most prevalent type of fat in the human body. Unlike LCTs (long-chain triglycerides), medium-chain triglycerides are metabolized without any reliance on energy from the human body. The efficiency of this system means that medium-chain triglycerides are less likely to be stored as fat. It’s this fact, coupled with numerous other beneficial health claims, that has made MCT oil one of the top food trends of 2019.


What’s the deal with MCT oil?


MCT oil is made from a saturated fat such as palm kernel oil or coconut oil that has undergone fractionation, a process that isolates medium-chain triglycerides and removes all other nutrients from the oil. Tasteless and odourless, MCT oil has a low smoke point (140°C/284°F) and is typically not used for cooking. MCT oil is often combined with grass-fed butter and blended into coffee, creating a rich beverage that is said to promote weight loss by contributing to feelings of satiety, burning fat through efficient metabolization, and causing an overall increase in energy and alertness.


Are there side effects to consider when consuming MCT oil?


Many people are able to use MCT without encountering any adverse side effects. However, some individuals may experience vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, and other gastrointestinal distress.


What are some other nutritional benefits to MCT oil?


Because MCT oil contains only medium-chain triglycerides it is actually devoid of all other nutrients. To put that in a more useful context, MCT oil and grass-fed butter coffee is meant to act as a meal replacement, which means a drastic drop in nutrients you would have otherwise enjoyed in a balanced breakfast. Additionally, coffee spiked with MTC oil calls for 1-2 tablespoons per serving (which translates to 7-13 SmartPoints per coffee, without any nutritional benefits or fibre content.)


Can MTC oil contribute to weight loss?


The research on MTC oil and weight loss are inconclusive, with most studies showing little to no effect on body weight and long-term weight loss.. It is important to address the fact that many studies on MTC oil have been funded by interested parties, had small sample sizes, were animal studies, or have focused exclusively on male subjects.


Does MTC oil have any other benefits?


In popular health media MTC oil has been praised for its ability to improve and increase athletic and bodybuilding endurance, prevent Alzheimer’s disease and regulate Type 2 diabetes. In actuality, there is a very small amount of formal research that has looked at the effect MTC oil has on these conditions. The current consensus of the health and dietetics community is that MCT oil should not be used as treatment for any illness