You may have heard about MCT oil and the whispers of it being a superfood. It is a must-have for people on ketogenic diets, who swear by its ability to give more energy and suppress appetite. Many people use it for its fat-burning capabilities, and its potential to revive your metabolism. So, are these speculations correct? And if so, can you cook with MCT oil? If you have these questions, read on, as we will discuss all of this and more in the below guide.
What Is MCT Oil?
Before we can dive into whether or not you can cook with MCT oil, we need to understand what exactly MCT oil is. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, and are a form of saturated fatty acids. They are fat molecules found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt. Fats are usually made up of carbon atom chains, and most of the fats in your diet are made of 13 to 21 of these atoms. These are typically referred to as long-chain fatty acids. Most dietary sources of fat, such as avocado, fish, and olive oil, comprise these long-chain triglycerides. The short-chains ones are usually made of 6 or lower carbon atoms. MCTs are medium-chain, hence they lie in the middle of the above two types, and contain 6 to 12 carbon atoms.
Since MCTs are medium in length, they do not require bile acids or enzymes for digestion as their long-chain counterparts. Therefore, this allows them to go straight to the liver, where they are digested and absorbed fast into the body and used for immediate energy. If not, they are turned into ketones, which can be used for energy instead of glucose. Ketones are far less reactive in the body than glucose; therefore, an energy boost from MCT oil is steady and does not fluctuate as is with glucose.
There are usually four types of MCTs, and they include:
- Caproic acid – 6 carbon atoms
- Caprylic acid – 8 carbon atoms
- Capric acid – 10 carbon atoms
- Lauric acid – 12 carbon atoms
Caproic and caprylic acid strains are better for the body since fewer carbons take less work for the body to process. During the MCT oil-making process, lauric acid and capric acid are usually removed to make a high-quality product that is more palatable.
Health Benefits of MCT Oil
There are many health benefits that you might score when using MCT oil. They include:
Potential to Aid in Weight Loss
One of the main reasons many people take MCT oil is for its potential weight loss benefits. You can incorporate it into your diet, while still exercising, to achieve your end goal faster. It might help reduce weight in the following ways:
- They have a lower calorie content than other fats, such as LCTs. Therefore, you will have a lower calorie intake when taking MCTs as opposed to LCTs.
- Medium-chain triglycerides do not accumulate as fat in your body. How is this possible? This is because of their chain length. They are digested and metabolized so quickly that the body uses them immediately as opposed to storing them. LCTs, on the other hand, take longer to digest, and will have to pass through the lymph and blood before they get to the liver. By the time LCTs get to the liver, other energy sources such as sugar and MCTs are already being used to fuel the cells. The body then stores the LCTs as fat.
- MCTs increase your energy; hence, you will be able to train more intensely during your workout sessions.
- MCTs also have the potential to increase your satiety; hence you might find yourself eating less food. They could aid in reducing your appetite and increase feelings of fullness.
It Is a Source of Energy
MCT oil could give an instant energy boost to the body. When consumed, MCT oil raises your ketones, which fuel your brain and muscles. Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is the primary ketone produced in the ketosis process and is sometimes considered a super fuel. This is because of its ability to provide more energy as compared to glucose. MCTs also increase the mitochondrial mass, which is the cells’ powerplants. They generate ATP, an energy molecule; therefore, the more the mitochondrial mass, the more the molecules produced.
It May Help Boost Your Cardiovascular Health
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque builds up in the arteries. Studies have shown that MCT oil may help prevent coagulation, act as an antioxidant, and lower cholesterol levels, helping prevent plaque buildup in arteries. MCTs might also help increase high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and decrease low-density lipoproteins (LDL) to reduce the risk of heart disease.
It Helps Fight Yeast and Bacterial Growth
MCT oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Therefore, consuming it might help to effectively reduce fungal infections.
It May Help With Diabetes
According to studies, MCT consumption has been found to increase insulin sensitivity in diabetic and non-diabetic people. MCT may help balance your blood sugar, which might make it useful in dealing with Diabetes Mellitus. It could help to prevent insulin levels from increasing and reduce spikes in blood sugar. Since it stimulates the production of ketones, it might improve glycemic control.
Can You Cook With MCT Oil?
The answer to this question is an emphatic yes! However, it is crucial to note that you should not expose MCT oil to temperatures above 320 degrees Fahrenheit due to its low smoking point.
Below are some of the reasons why many people choose to cook with MCT Oil.
It Is Flavorless
MCT oil is flavorless, which makes it the perfect oil to use while cooking. This is because it can work well with any dish, without adding its flavor to it.
No Melting Will Be Required
The other best thing about MCT oil is that it does not turn to solid at room temperature, as some other oils do. You, therefore, do not need to waste time melting it while cooking.
It Combines Well With Other Supplements
MCT oil can combine with other supplements with ease, such as whey protein and collagen peptides. This may allow you to mix things up to get the maximum benefits of your MCT oil.
Cooking With MCT Oil
When cooking with MCT oil, it is crucial to note that you should use only low to medium temperatures. It has a lower smoking point than its other counterpart, coconut oil, which is 320°F. Coconut has a smoking point of 350°F. When you use MCT oil for anything more than 320°F, you risk damaging the fats, making it less beneficial.
Other Ways to Use MCT Oil
There are myriads of ways in which you can use MCT oil in your food. Some of them include:
Drizzling It on Your Food
This is an exciting way of adding healthy fats to your diet. You can drizzle it into your favorite keto sauces and dressings. You can also drizzle it onto keto pasta dishes and salads, as it works wonders with the different flavors.
Blend It Into Your Beverages
MCT oil, if not blended into your favorite drinks, will float at the top, which is not an interesting sight. If you do not prefer to blend it, you can try emulsified MCT. It will mix well into the beverage, without any blending required. You can blend it into your morning coffee to get your day started on the right foot, with lots of energy.
Substitute for Your Usual Cooking Oils
You can also substitute your regular oils with MCT. If you have a recipe that asks for olive oil, coconut, or even vegetable oil, you can replace it with MCT oil and take advantage of its health benefits.
You can incorporate it into your pre-workout and post-workout shakes. This could help improve your performance and endurance, which might work wonders for your fitness journey.
How to Store Your MCT Oil
How do you store your MCT oil, to ensure that you gain maximum benefits from it? When stored correctly, MCT can last up to 2 years, in a cool and dry place. It is advised to avoid storing it where there is too much light, oxygen, and heat, to prevent it from oxidizing and extend its shelf life.
It is recommended to look for MCT oil that comes in a glass container as opposed to a plastic container as some plastic containers may have chemicals that could enter the oil.
If your MCT oil is already in a plastic container, then you might consider storing it in a fridge. If possible, you could also transfer the oil into a glass container and store it in a cool and dry place.
MCT oil, as seen above, may have numerous health benefits to the body. By making it part of your daily routine, whether you cook with MTC oil or use it in your food, you might be able to get an energy boost and other health benefits that come with it. There are so many exciting ways to add MCT oil to your diet. When cooking with MCT oil, it’s important to remember that it has a low smoking point, hence not efficient for pan-frying and stir-frying, cooking methods that have a higher smoking point.