There are many reasons why people might fast. Fasting may aid in weight loss, help to give your digestive system some much-needed rest, or even assist in attaining spiritual goals. To make it through a day of fasting, it might be useful for you to find ways to boost your energy and keep hunger pangs at bay. Does MCT oil break a fast, especially considering the limited number of options you have for keeping your mind clear and suppressing feelings of hunger?
In the strictest sense, any caloric intake (anything above 0 calories) during a fasting period amounts to breaking the fast! As such, the consumption of MCT oil, even with its low-calorie count, technically breaks a fast.
However, since MCT oil is easily absorbed into the body and has a low-calorie count, it may still be consumed during the fasting period without reversing the physiological benefits of the fast.
Fortunately, though, it is possible for you to use MCT oil to give your body the boost it needs to get through your fasting period, and a host of extra benefits, without interfering with the fat-burning process.
What Is Fasting?
Before we dive into whether or not MCT oil can break a fast, we need to understand what exactly a fast is. Simply put, fasting is generally defined as the willing abstinence from all or some foods and drinks for a given amount of time. Fasting can be done in a number of different ways, including time-restricted feeding, intermittent calorie restriction, and periodic fasting with fasting-mimicking low-calorie diets.
When fasting, the body is pushed to find alternative ways of meeting its energy requirements.
One of the ways through which the body meets its energy requirements is through ketosis. In this metabolic state, the body burns fat as its primary source of energy. This sets the stage for increased weight loss.
Fasting may also help boost heart health and lower blood pressure as the body’s basal metabolic rate becomes more efficient. This happens as the body tries to save more energy during the fasting period.
Last but not least, fasting might also help make the cells in our bodies more resilient. Fasting stresses the body in the same way that working out stresses the muscles. When the body is given enough time to recover in between fasting periods, the cells adapt and become stronger.
From the above, it is clear to see that for fasting to be effective, it must push the body to achieve two important goals. For starters, the body must start burning fat as its primary source of energy (not sugar). The body must also learn to become more efficient when it comes to utilizing the calories you consume.
Potential Benefits of Fasting
You may be wondering what exactly the benefits of fasting are. Below you’ll find a comprehensive list of some of the potential benefits of fasting.
Blood Sugar Control
Fasting might help you better control your blood sugar levels. This is mainly due to the fact that fasting helps reduce blood sugar levels, and with it, makes the body more sensitive to insulin. This ultimately means that the glucose in your blood is efficiently delivered to your cells.
Enhanced Weight Loss
By reducing the number of calories you consume on a regular basis, fasting can be used as a highly effective tool for weight loss. In addition to reducing your calorie intake, fasting may also boost the rate at which the body burns fat for energy production.
Fasting, or simply a following a low-calorie diet that imitates fasting, may help reduce chronic inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked with the development of various chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease among others.
Improved Brain Health
Fasting intermittently has shown the potential to help improve brain health in different ways in various animal studies. In one study, fasting in mice was shown to help improve brain structure. In another study, fasting was shown to improve cognitive function by promoting nerve cell generation.
On top of all the above, fasting has been seen to help increase longevity and survival rates in animals. In one such study, the lifespan of rats that fasted was seen to be much longer than that of rats that did not fast.
As you can see from the above, fasting, when done in a healthy way, may be linked with a long list of health benefits. Read on to find out what MCT oil is, and how its consumption could align with your fasting goals.
What Is MCT Oil?
Medium Chain Triglycerides in full, MCT oil refers to saturated oils found naturally in coconut and palm oil. These triglycerides, when isolated into a flavorless oil product through lab processes, may be used for its potential to provide an energy boost and or even possibly enhance weight loss in people who are fasting.
MCTs are unique in that, unlike other fats, they can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream, and delivered to the liver, after ingestion. In the liver, MCTs are broken down into ketones, providing an alternative energy source to glucose/sugar. In addition to fueling the body, ketones, which are capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier, are also known to energize the body, ensuring mental clarity even during fasting periods.
Since MCTs promote ketosis, the burning of fat to produce energy, they may play a huge role in ensuring that the body continues to breakdown stored fats during fasting periods. And this is why many people are choosing to consume them when fasting.
Potential Benefits of MCT Oil
Wondering what benefits MCT oil might offer? Here’s a detailed list of some of the potential health benefits of MCT oil:
Regulating Feelings of Hunger
Consuming MCTs may help you manage your hunger pangs in a better way. The triglycerides found in the oil are healthy complex fats that the body finds harder to break down than the sugars found in carbohydrates. This means that it may take longer for you to feel hungry as the body takes a prolonged time to work on these fats.
As it might make it easier for you to fast for longer, MCT oil could help promote autophagy. This is another essential metabolic process in which the body seemingly recycles or eats leftover cell material to fuel other physiological processes.
Encourages Burning of Fats
As previously stated, the use of MCT oil may help trigger and promote ketosis. By providing the body with healthy fats that are easily absorbed into the bloodstream, MCT oil could supply the body with an alternative source of energy without triggering an insulin response.
Improved Brain Function
When fasting, your thoughts may get blurry as blood sugar levels take a dip; MCT oil may have the ability to help the body produce ketones. Ketones are able to pass the blood-brain barrier effortlessly and provide an energy boost that could also boost your mental clarity.
What Constitutes Breaking a Fast?
At this point, it is easy to see just how useful MCT oil can be when used during the fasting period. It may give you the energy your body and mind need to get through the fasting period. More importantly, MCT may have the ability to help you avoid hunger pangs that threaten to make your fast even more challenging.
However, all this brings us back to the question, does MCT break a fast? The answer depends on what you consider as breaking a fast.
If you are looking to lose weight, consuming a few drops of MCT oil is not likely to keep you from getting the full weight loss benefits of fasting. This, therefore, means that MCT oil would not break your fast. Furthermore, given its low-calorie count, MCT oil is not likely to trigger an insulin response in the body.
If you are fasting in order to give your gut a break, consuming a few drops of MCT oil during the fasting period also should not amount to breaking the fast. The main reason behind this is the direct absorption of triglycerides into the bloodstream without the need for any digestive action. The triglycerides are then broken down into ketones once they reach the liver.
However, if you are fasting in the strictest sense, taking anything other than water during the fasting period ultimately breaks the fast.
How Much MCT Oil Should You Take When Fasting?
To ensure that you get the full benefits of fasting as well as the MCT oil you are taking, it is important that you take the right dosage. It is recommended that you take a smaller part of your daily recommended dosage during your fast; the rest of the dosage can be taken after you break the fast. You should only take just enough to keep you going until you break the fast. With this approach, you will not break your fast unintentionally by taking too much MCT, and with it, a substantially higher caloric intake.
Taking too much MCT oil during your fast may actually trigger the production of hunger hormones; causing you to experience stronger hunger pangs, something that you want to avoid during a fast.
Does MCT oil break a fast? Consuming any calories when fasting will break your fast. However, you can still get the full benefits of fasting while consuming MCT oil. The consumption of MCT oil is not likely to trigger an insulin response. In fact, MCT oil may promote ketosis; a metabolic response that plays an essential role in weight loss.
To get the full benefits of consuming MCT oil as well as those associated with fasting, it is recommended that you follow the right dosage as recommended by your physician.