The Secret Healthy Fat that doesn’t make you FAT MCT

The Secret Healthy Fat That Doesn't Make you FAT - MCT

Written by: Dr. Saira Kassam, ND

Coconut oil is a great source of healthy fat, mainly comprised of medium chain fatty acids, also known as MCT’s. MCT is just a fancy term for ‘medium sized fat molecules’. There are 4 types of MCT’s; some are smaller in size than others. The smaller the MCT,  the more readily it can be absorbed by the bloodstream to be used as an energy sourceThere is quite a bit of confusion between coconut oil and MCT oil. MCT oil and coconut oil are NOT the same! MCT oil is a very concentrated form that is made up of almost 100% medium chain triglycerides that are sourced from coconut oil. Here are the main differences between coconut oil and MCT Oil:

55% MCT's 100% MCT's
Different sized MCT's which make absorption more difficult Only the smallest sized MCT's which makes it easily absorbable
The whole food source of MCT  Made by extracting pure MCT from whole foods


MCT oils have become increasingly popular within the ketogenic umbrella, as it embraces fat intake and minimizes carbohydrate intake. They are a source of fat that creates energy in the form of ketones instantly. The body’s preferred energy source is glucose (sugar). When glucose isn’t available (after periods of fasting), your body will break down its fat stores and release ketone bodies, which are used as an energy source.  MCT’s can help make ketones readily available for your body to use, making ketosis easier to attain.

Healthy MCT’s are largely missing from the modern Western diet. You can get MCT’s from coconut oil, palm kernel oil, butter and cheese. However, these natural foods don’t have a high levels of MCT's.

  • Coconut oil is 55% MCT
  • Palm oil is 53% MCT
  • Coconut Milk 14%
  • Goat cheese 6%
  • Heavy cream 3%

The great thing about MCT oil is that it is highly concentrated. Here are some benefits of MCT Oil:

  • ENERGY - Our bodies metabolize MCT’s fairly quickly without any enzymes. It also does not have to be broken down into smaller molecules, which allows it to be absorbed directly into the bloodstream as free fatty acids providing immediate energy. So, unlike other fats, they are ready to be converted to ketones that are used for energy by the body.
  • WEIGHT CONTROL – MCT’s are known to enhance fat burning, as they are not stored in fat deposits.
    • Feel fuller for longer
    • Don’t get stored as fat
    • Have lower calories (8.3 calories per gram vs. 9 calories per gram
    • Boost metabolism through their thermogenic effect (burn calories to create heat which can increase metabolism)
  • FOCUS and BRAIN POWER – MCT’s are rapidly made into ketone bodies, which is the only other form of energy the brain can use besides glucose. The brain uses ketones for energy with can help with focus, concentration and an ageing brain! MCT oil has shown to improve memory and overall brain health.
  • GUT HEALTH – MCT’s are antimicrobial in nature. They kill the harmful bacteria without killing the beneficial bacteria. This helps to create a thriving gut flora and helps to absorb vitamins and minerals from foods optimally.


It is important to find a good quality MCT. Some oils can be blended with other longer chains MCT’s, like lauric acid, which makes it a little harder to be used as energy quickly. MCT oil can easily be added to morning coffees, protein shakes or even salads! You can even use it as a replacement for olive oil or add it to dips. If your body is not used to the high-fat content, you may experience some digestive issues, like nausea and gastric discomfort when starting out. It is best to start with very small doses, like ½ tsp a day and slowly increases to 1 tbsp.


MCT’s are the most bioavailable form of energy. They are quickly absorbed and metabolized for energy vs. being stored as fat.  It is quite useful especially if you are on the ketogenic diet as it allows you to attain high-fat consumption efficiently and effectively. If you are looking to just stay healthy and get some more MCT’s in your diet, coconut oil is great but if you are looking to primarily fuel your body by ketones like in the ketogenic diet, MCT oil is the best choice!



The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.