As many followers of keto and other low-carb diets can tell you, getting yourself into ketosis—that state in which your body has stopped using carbs for energy and has started burning fat—can be a challenge. Throw in hunger pangs and fatigue from busy schedules, and some folks may be ready to call it quits.
One way to power past the carbs-to-fat barrier is to supplement your efforts with MCT oil. Derived from coconut oil and other sources, MCT can help you unlock the keto diet’s full potential.
MCT is short for medium-chain triglycerides, a type of fat that the body tends to turn into energy quickly—before it has a chance to turn into body fat. What’s more, MCT can help you feel fuller for a longer period of time, and it contains fewer calories than other types of oil.
MCT is especially useful for low-carb diets because it produces ketones, the fat-based fuel source that gives the keto (“ketogenic”) eating plan its name. This may reduce the brain fog, nausea and other symptoms of “keto flu” that can deter some dieters. In addition, MCT has shown an ability to support the beneficial intestinal microbes known collectively as the gut microbiome, which can also help ease digestive distress.
Exercise is crucial for any healthy lifestyle and here again, MCT oil may help. According to a 2018 study in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, older women who combined aerobic exercise and MCT oil were able to achieve ketosis more readily than through exercise alone. In another study, MCT was able to fight the loss of muscle mass, an action that can improve exercise capacity.
Other MCT Advantages
Researchers have found additional reasons to make MCT oil a part of your diet.
For one thing, ketones provide ready fuel for brain cells. This has led scientists to study whether MCT may play a role in promoting brain health. Results have been promising: In one study, published in the journal Neuroscience Letters, Alzheimer’s patients who took MCT showed cognitive benefits.
MCT also appears to help maintain proper lipid control. One study found that MCT oil was able to reduce cholesterol and body weight; in another investigation, MCT increased levels of “good,” heart-protective HDL cholesterol. And evidence suggests that MCT may benefit people with diabetes, another significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
There are different types of MCT oil based on the length of their carbon chains; a quality product will be concentrated in the C10 to C12 range.However, there’s an even more important reason to be careful about your choice of MCT.
Sadly, some products come from sources that are harmful to the environment and the human cultures in which the trees are raised; others come from suppliers that don’t pay their workers a reasonable wage. So it’s crucial to look for a product that is fairly and ethically sourced, with no exploitation of the land or the people involved.
Looking for help with your low-carb diet? Cleanly produced MCT oil can help you feel good about employing this key keto booster.