Toronto / By Nathalie Niddam

MCT Oil, what is it? Is it hype? What are the benefits? Are there any downsides?  

If you’ve had a delicious butter coffee at the Academy then you have been introduced to MCT oil. MCT oil is that clear tasteless oil that is added to your butter coffee for the sole reason of amping up the benefits of said drink; immediate increase in energy, fat burning and satiation. But what are MCT’s and is it all hype or is there something to it?

Well, there really is something to MCT’s and for the most part it’s pretty good (we’ll get to the not so good part at the end of this post).  MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides - they are most commonly extracted from coconut or palm oil. Most products on the market provide 6x the concentration of MCT you would get from the same amount of coconut oil but some, like Dave Asprey’s Brain Octane give you 16x the concentration - Brain Octane indeed!  Another good brand although less concentrated is NOW, readily available in most health food stores.

MCT benefits run the gamut from metabolism boosting to improved brain function (by providing ketones, an alternate fuel for brain cells) to better cholesterol profile and improved body composition.

A quick search on Pubmed generates dozens of studies on MCT oil and dozens more on coconut oil. For most of us the key takeaway is that MCT’s are a great alternate source of energy that can help us maintain and achieve better body composition if used wisely.

Add it to your shakes, your coffee, salad dressings or drizzle on veggies (but do not cook with it), and go slow. One downside to MCT’s is that in some people, they need to acclimatize gradually to using them. Too much too soon could result in a very rushed trip to the bathroom, so start with a teaspoon and build up from there to see how you do. I have had clients who have asked me "What is this rocket fuel stuff?" It can exert that much of a noticeable effect on their energy levels. For others it is more subtle. See where you end up on the continuum by exercising the power of N=1.