What are Medium Chain Triglycerides and why you need them

Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT for short) are a type of fat that is readily broken down by the human body into ketones. Ketones are the metabolic component responsible for your energy when in a state of ketosis. MCT belongs to the group of fats known as saturated fatty acids. In this blog post, I introduce MCTs and why you need them while running a ketogenic diet. If you’re not familiar with what the ketogenic diet is, check out my post here about my own achievements with the diet, along with my entire keto category index for all my related blog posts.

Caproic acid acsv
Molecular structure of Caproic Acid, one of the different MCTs.

You might have been told that saturated fats are bad. You might have heard they are linked to all sorts of diseases like heart disease. But not all saturated fats are equal, and Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are innocent here. They make up about 60% of the oil in coconuts, attributing in part to what makes coconut oil a super food on the keto diet. Because MCTs breakdown much easier into ketones, our bodies can use them to enter ketosis much faster.

Boosting Fat Consumption

Most people whom I coach through the on-ramp to the ketogenic diet struggle with the high amounts of fat they must now consume. A lot of the struggle is from the mental shift away from the “low fat” myth that we’ve been told for decades. But even after you convince yourself that it’s worth a shot, you may find that it’s still very difficult to get 70% or more of your calories from fat sources.

In order to get MCTs (and thus fat) into more of your meals, I recommend using an MTC Oil supplement. You can find them in liquid and powder forms. I prefer the powder form because it is lighter and easier to carry around. It mixes easily with water, and the flavor of the powder is similar to powdered creamer that you might use in your coffee. The product linked below is what I personally use, and I really enjoy it! It’s easy to drop a serving or two into my (low carb) protein shake or use it as an ingredient in other recipes. One serving of this product gives you 7 extra grams of fat from MCTs!

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Stomach Sensitivity

Some people might find that taking too much MCT oil at once can cause stomach pains. These are not harmful! It just means you’re using more than your body can process at once. Consume less MCT oil until you find the sweet spot where you body can handle it all without the discomfort.

In time, you can gradually increase the amount you use. I’ve personally noticed that my own ability to process MCT oil has improved the longer I use it.

Summary

Medium Chain Triglycerides are an important and powerful tool in the keto dieter’s nutritional arsenal. Whether you’re struggling to add more fat to your keto diet or not, you can benefit from making sure you get more MCT. You can find it in several natural food sources, like coconuts, but I prefer the ease and convenience of using it in a powdered supplement form.