Quick Summary: How much MCT oil per day on keto?
Two to four tablespoons full of MCT oil per day is ideal while on keto. Simply add your MCT oil to your keto meal replacement, protein shake, or coffee in the morning for some instant brain fuel. Because MCT oil has a low burning point, it is not a good idea to fry things with it.
If you’re on a keto diet, then the one supplement you’re most likely to be utilizing is MCT oil.
MCT oils are some of the most popular supplement products on the market right now, particularly among people following a low carb or ketogenic diet. These diets aim to practically eliminate carbohydrates from the diet with the ultimate aim of losing fat, gaining muscle mass, and improving overall health.
The “logic” backing up the keto diet is shaky to put it mildly. While eating no carbs will indeed drive down your insulin levels and largely eliminate the insulin response, the keto diet fails to recognise that protein also spikes your insulin levels! So simply replacing carbs with meat or cheese isn’t going to put you into a ketogenic state.
Plus, the science is clear that the benefits of reducing carbohydrate consumption do not outweigh the negatives that come with eating more meat, especially red meat.
However, there are healthy ways to eat a more ketogenic, high protein, low carbohydrate diet.
There are plenty of reasons as to why you might want to go keto, or at least eat a relatively low carbohydrate diet. Bodybuilders who are cutting to get ready for a show, powerlifters who need to ditch fat while retaining muscles, and boxers who need to lose weight rapidly while maintaining as much lean mass as possible all find low carbohydrate diets highly effective.
And, one of the best ways to take full advantage of a low carbohydrate, keto-style diet is using MCT oil.
But how should you use MCT oil for keto?
How much MCT oil should you be using per day for keto?
When is the best time to take MCT oil while doing keto?
Let’s take a closer look at what MCT oil is and how it works and try to answer that question in a some detail.
What is MCT oil?
MCT oil is an oil containing medium chain triglycerides (or MCTs). It is typically obtained from coconuts, as this is the richest natural source of medium chain triglycerides. Coconuts are not the only source of MCTs; palm kernel oil is also fairly rich in MCTs. However, the MCTs found in palm kernel oil are not ‘the best’ MCTs for mental and physical performance, or for your digestive health.
You see, not all MCTs are the same. There are different types of MCTs, each with different length chains, and each with their own slightly different effects in the body.
The four different types of medium chain triglyceride fatty acid are:
- Caproic acid (C6)
- Caprylic acid (C8)
- Capric acid (C10)
- Lauric acid (C12)
Each of these medium chain triglycerides affects the body in a slightly different way. The C number refers to the number of carbon atoms in the chain, and that chain dictates how the body processes the triglyceride in question.
Of these MCTs, Caprylic acid and Capric acid have by far and away the most beneficial effects for human health and performance. This is particularly true of Caprylic acid, or C8 MCT. These are also the MCTs with the least impact on the digestive system. Both C12 Lauric acid and C6 Caproic acid can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and nausea.
It is important to note that MCT oil and coconut oil are not the same thing.
Coconut oil is the most plentiful natural source of MCTs, but coconut oil is not 100% MCT oil. Coconut oil contains lots of saturated fat. It is also highly dense in C6 and C12 MCTs, so consuming large amounts is going to cause digestive discomfort!
That’s why people who want to enjoy the performance-enhancing benefits of MCT oil use refined MCT oil calibrated to be 100% C8 and C10 triglycerides.
How do MCT oil and keto go together?
MCT oil is arguably the single best supplement for making the keto diet both easier and more successful. It I easily the most popular supplement consumed by people following the ketogenic diet, or any low carbohydrate diet for that matter.
The reason MCT oil is so good for keto is that your body quickly converts MCTs into ketones. This means MCT oil acts as instant fuel for your body and brain without spiking your blood glucose.
There is some evidence that MCT oil actually encourages the body to get into ketosis by starting the process of using ketones for fuel. However, this evidence is far from conclusive.
It is therefore best to just assume that MCT helps by giving the body exogenous ketones for use as fuel. This is in itself a HUGE benefit for people doing keto.
Normally, while in ketosis, your body must convert stored fat into ketone bodies to use as fuel. But this process can be slow, and there are times (like before working out or before work) when you need instant energy.
That is what MCT oil provides: instant, keto-friendly energy.
How much MCT oil per day for keto?
So we know that MCT oil can be hugely beneficial to people on a keto diet.
Not only does it provide you with keto bodies for use as fuel, but it also may encourage the body to get into ketosis faster (which is often necessary, as in reality it takes 2-3 days of not eating any carbs or protein to enter proper ketosis).
That brings us to our next question: how much MCT oil should you use each day for keto?
For people doing keto, around 4-6 tablespoons of MCT oil per day is ideal. This is enough MCTs for your body to get all the extra ketones it might need each day for energy, be it in the gym or at work. It is also not so much that you might experience side effects. Any more than 6 tablespoons per day will cause some digestive discomfort.