MCT Oil vs. Coconut Oil: The Differences Explained (& What to Use When)

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MCT oil is a liquid fat produced by refining raw coconut or palm oil. This process removes and concentrates the MCTs (medium chain triglycerides) naturally found in the source material and provides more of the benefits specific to MCTs (increased ketone production, metabolism, and mental clarity). Regular coconut oil does provide some of these benefits, albeit at a reduced level, but due to the other types of fats found in coconut oil, it is more suitable for high-heat culinary applications.

In this post you will learn:

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What are MCTs?

First off, it's important to understand that both coconut oil and MCT oil contain MCTs, also known as medium chain triglycerides.

There are four types of MCTs: capronic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12). Each of these fatty acids has its own unique benefits ranging from energy to boosting metabolism, to antimicrobial properties. (If  you really want to nerd out on these differences, check out this article)

It's the different ratios of these MCTs in coconut oil and MCT oil that really set them apart.

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What is Coconut Oil?

Mixing fragrant coconut oil into everything from your baked goods to soups to coffee certainly isn’t new. Plenty of cultures have understood the benefits of coconut oil on some level for centuries.

Coconut oil is the oil extracted from the kernel of the coconut. This oil can be extracted in various ways, including refined and unrefined methods. Coconut oil is packed with healthy fats, more than 50% of which are MCTs. However, the ratio of MCTs in coconut is highly in favor of lauric acid (C12), giving it powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

While some people are still scared of saturated fat, it’s becoming more commonly accepted that coconut oil isn’t just safe; it’s good for us. Coconut’s many benefits, including its antimicrobial, antiviral, and antibacterial properties include:

What is MCT Oil?

MCT products are purified extractions of coconut oil, ensuring they contain a higher concentration of diverse MCTs (such as C8 and C10) than coconut oil does. This concentrated form of fats proves to be a highly efficient source of energy.

Typically, the MCTs found in MCT oil bypass the normal fat digestion and head straight to the liver where they are quickly metabolized by the body and converted into energy, providing increased energy levels and fat burning properties through supporting the production of ketone bodies, making it the popular choice for people following the keto diet.

MCT Oil also has a far more discrete taste, making it the perfect addition to your favorite sauces, soups, smoothies, and even baked goods. It’s also a popular addition to coffee and tea to help you stave off cravings and help promote fat loss!

MCT oil benefits and uses:

How to Choose Between MCT Oil and Coconut Oil

If you’re looking to boost fat loss and cognitive function quickly, a daily dose of MCT oil is the way to go. The concentrated MCTs in MCT oil or MCT Creamer will definitely give you more bang for your buck than coconut oil. And it’s easier for your body to break down and use.

When purchasing MCT oil, always be sure to find products with high-quality ingredients, that contain no palm oil, are free from artificial colors and flavors, and contain pure-expeller pressed coconut oil.

But that doesn’t mean you should throw out your coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is still a great source of healthy fats and tastes great in cooking and baking. You just won’t get the concentrated amount of fat-burning, brain-boosting fatty acids that you will in a tablespoon or so of MCT oil.

If you’re looking for creative and easy ways to incorporate MCT oil into your daily routine, check out 9 Surprising Ways to Use MCT Oil!

We welcome your thoughts on MCT and coconut oil in the comments!

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