The Truth About MCT Oil

Everyone's heard of coconut oil, but have you ever heard of MCT oil? Popular with those taking part in the keto diet, it's a weird ingredient often added to smoothies and bulletproof coffee. But what is MCT oil? And, more importantly, what does it actually do?

Mark Hyman, M.D., author of Eat Fat, Get Thin, believes MCT oil is a super fuel that "boosts fat burning and increases mental clarity" (via SHAPE). Samantha Presicci, a registered dietitian with Snap Kitchen, agrees, telling POPSUGAR that it works by aiding digestion and suppressing appetite. According to registered dietitian Jessica Crandall, it has even been seen to reduce cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's.

MCT oil is a great alternative to coconut oil

SHAPE states that MCT oil is a saturated fatty acid that is completely manmade from coconut or palm oil. Presicci elaborates, noting, "Coconut oil is 55 percent MCTs, while MCT oil is 100 percent MCTs. MCT oil is a byproduct of coconut oil and only contains two of the four medium-chain fatty acids that coconut oil does (caprylic and capric acid)." In other words, it's an alternative to coconut oil that many believe is a purer choice. However, as it's unrefined, it can't actually be used for cooking, which is why most people pop it in their smoothies or liquids.

If you're interested in adding MCT oil to your diet, it's important to remember that less is more. SHAPE notes that there are typically 100 calories per tablespoon, and Crandell points out having more than one tablespoon a day is likely to set you back rather than provide you with benefits. Presicci warns, "If you aren't used to consuming MCT oil and you use too much to start, you may notice gastrointestinal distress." It's vital, then, to start small — integrate 1 teaspoon a day into your diet to gauge how your body reacts before you add any more.