Medium-chain triglyceride or MCT oil is emerging as a popular alternative to traditional coconut oil in the world of healthy fats. Which one is better, is one better and why? Let’s talk about MCT oil vs. coconut oil, coconut oil and MCT oil benefits and all the ways you can use both in your food, home and life.
From kitchen experiments to wellness routines, the rivalry between MCT oil and coconut oil fuels our curiosity about their respective roles in daily health and vitality. I’m going to compare and contrast these two plant-based healthy fats to help you understand when to use each to maximize the benefits.
What is MCT Oil?
MCT oil is a concentrated source of coconut oil with only medium-chain triglycerides, or saturated fats. It is derived from coconut or palm oil.
To separate the “MCTs” from the other fats naturally found in coconut oil, it goes through a process called fractionation, or heating up the oil and then cooling it to the point where the long chain triglycerides (LCTs) or the lauric acid, return to a solid form and the MCTs or the caprylic acid and capric acid are still liquid and can be separated.
The process of fractionation is aided by chemicals, so when I buy this oil I look for one that has been expeller pressed. This process doesn’t use chemicals and instead slowly squeezes out the oils from the coconut then takes that fat and chills it down slowly to separate the MCTs from the LCTs.
Honestly, both oils are a good source of healthy fat, yet they do have their differences. Coconut oil contains over 50% MCTs, while MCT oil is close to 100% MCTs, making them usable in different ways and beneficial in different ways as well.
Below is a breakdown sharing more features of the two awesome oils.
- Higher heat point: can be used in baking and cooking
- More affordable per ounce
- Has a slight coconut-taste
- Solid at room temp
- Used in larger doses
- Low heat point: best in coffee, smoothies and salad dressings.
- Higher amounts of MCTs
- Liquid all the time
- Used in small doses
Both oils are often promoted as aids to weight loss, however, MCT oil is shown to greatly reduce cravings and overall food intake throughout the day.
Coconut oil contains both medium chain and long chain. MCTs don’t require bile acids or pancreatic enzymes to be digested and instead transfer right to the liver to be used. If you struggle with an intestinal disease, talk to your dietician about using MCT oil to help.
Because of this rapid digestion, MCT oil is less likely to be stored as fat and can promote weight loss more than other fatty acids.
Want to learn more? I’ve got a video for you! Check out this visual on comparing and contrasting these two unique foods and determine how and when to use each.
Both of these options have healthy benefits in their own way, so the “winner” of the MCT oil vs. coconut oil debate depends on what you want from them. I know Western culture has been leery of fat for decades but that is not the case anymore. Join me in embracing healthy fat and using it the way our body needs it.
MCT Oil Benefits
- Promotes digestion: Since it starts digestion in the liver, MCT oil doesn’t take the time that other oils do to break down. This gives it the unique ability to process more quickly and take other foods with it down the digestive tract. WARNING! Adding too much MCT oil can lead to a lot of bathroom time. Start small with one teaspoon and slowly increase intake when first consuming.
- Is tasteless: Unlike coconut oil, MCT oil doesn’t have that lingering coconut taste. We know not everyone likes coconut, so if this is you, give MCT oil a shot! It is a super healthy fat, with virtually no taste or smell.
- Encourages weight loss: This oil works to promote feelings of fullness in our bodies, as well as keep us feeling full throughout the day.
- Helps create a healthy gut: MCT oil encourages healthy bacteria and supports gut lining.
Coconut Oil Benefits
- Antibacterial: The lauric acid in coconut can fight infections like staph and yeast in adults.
- Aid in digestion: Our bodies need healthy fats, and use this oil to absorb nutrients, making them easily digested.
- Anti-fungal and Antiviral: The fatty acid makeup of this oil also leads it to be anti-fungal and antiviral, so it is a great natural ingredient to add to deodorants, toothpaste and other hygienic products.
- High in lauric acid: Only breastmilk has a higher lauric acid concentration than coconut oil. This powerful acid actually helps increase immunity and fight infections, which makes it essential to our daily diets.
- Lower blood sugar: This can be used to help diabetics lower blood sugar according to a study on virgin coconut oil.
How to Use
MCT oil is very concentrated, meaning you don’t need much of it to get the benefits. The suggested serving size of MCT oil is 1-2 teaspoons. so use it in non-cooking recipes. Check out some of my favorite uses for MCT oil below:
Another great type of MCT oil is MCT powder, which binds the oil to acacia fiber turning it into a healthy fat and fiber source that can easily be blended into smoothies.
Coconut oil specifically has such a wide range of uses, food and otherwise, making it a great addition to our quest for a more natural lifestyle. In the MCT oil vs. coconut oil debate, coconut oil definitely wins out as the more versatile of the two. Some of my favorite food and non-food uses include:
It has a high smoke point and can therefore be used in all kinds of cooking, baking and sautéing. Go wild!
They are both excellent choices when adding healthy fats to your diet, yet they do different things and should be used in different ways. MCT oil is great in coffee and smoothies to aid in digestion and kickstart your metabolism. It helps you feel full longer since MCTs have faster absorption in the body. Coconut oil has a high heat point making it great for all kinds of high-heat cooking and baking. It has a variety of non-food uses like in a variety of beauty applications for a variety of skin conditions and functional home purposes.
Depending on the application, you can swap MCT oil with coconut oil. Where you use one teaspoon of MCT oil, you can use one tablespoon of coconut oil. Just be careful if you want to swap coconut oil with MCT oil. You don’t want to use the ladder in cooking/baking, instead swap in another kind of vegetable oil like avocado oil or olive oil.
MCT oil has several health applications from treating candida to lowering blood sugar and raising HDL cholesterol. Note that it can also raise LDL cholesterol, so always consult your medical professional before adding it to your diet.
Which type do you like to use? Why? Drop a comment below and let me know!