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Is MCT Oil Better Than Coconut Oil?

Colin Stuckert

Coconut oil is an amazing product. In fact, we have plans to launch a Wild Coconut Oil in the near future. 

But coconut oil isn't great for everything... it has some limitations.

And that's where MCT oil comes in like a champ. We'll look at some of the benefits of MCT oil below. 

First of all, what is MCT oil?

MCT oil is derived from coconut oil (and sometimes from palm fruit oil) through a fractioning process that separates certain fatty acids from the coconut oil to create a more refined oil that's useful for certain applications

But before we get to benefits of coconut oil, MCT oil and medium chain triglycerides in general, it will serve us well to define "MCT."

What are MCTs?

Medium chain triglycerides are fatty acids that will contain a mix of short, medium and long chain fatty acids (carbon chains).

Medium chain fatty acids are defined as having between 6 and 12 carbon chains.

These include:

  • Caproic Acid - C6
  • Caprylic Acid - C8
  • Capric Acid - C10
  • Lauric Acid - C12

These fatty acids are known for their various health benefits. For starters, MCTs are not stored in body fat as easily as other fatty acids. Combine this with the known thermogenic effect of MCTs (fat burning), and you have a food ingredient that is less likely to store fat while also helps burn fat. 

One 14-day study showed that substituting MCTs for other forms of fat in a typical diet reduced the overall quantity of calories consumed. (1) 

The most popular MCT is lauric, which makes up 50% of coconut oil, and is responsible for the many health claims that make coconut oil such a potent food.

Some MCTs contain lauric acid and some don't. Our current Wild MCT does not contain lauric acid, which makes it pharmaceutical pure. Our newest Wild MCT is going to contain lauric acid. Keep an eye out for that!

Lauric acid is prized for its antimicrobial effects and is found in many products in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Naturally derived coconut oil contains a mix of all 4 MCTs as well as a small percent of long chain fatty acids.

MCT oil is a manufactured product made by separating certain fatty acids from coconut oil. This creates a product that is not a replacement for coconut oil, but is an addition product that should be used for certain purposes.

First, there is no coconut flavor imparted by MCT oil. It is flavorless and odorless. This is why you can make a delicious salad dressing from scratch using MCT as a base. It also serves well cooking other foods at low to medium temperatures without imparting any coconut flavor to the final cooked food.

Another benefit of MCT oil is, it remains liquid at room temperature. This makes it easy to add to coffee, smoothies, shakes and salad dressings, which is not easy to do with coconut oil that has not been already melted.

(1) Stubbs RJ, Harbron CG. Covert manipulation of the ratio of medium- to long-chain triglycerides in isoenergetically dense diets: effect on food intake in ad libitum feeding men. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1996 May, 20.