If you’ve been around the keto block, you may have heard of two food supplements that can improve your overall health. Enter coconut oil and MCT oil.

In this article, we’re going to jump right into what these oils are and what they can do for you in your keto journey.

What Is Coconut Oil and Why Is It Beneficial?

Let’s first take a look at coconut oil and analyze its formation and benefits. Anyone who hasn’t heard about the wonderful world of coconut oil in the last few years surely must be hiding under a rock.

There is a running joke that goes along the lines of “Bad skin? Use coconut oil. Poor credit scores? Use coconut oil. Car not working? Use coconut oil.”

Coconut oil has become somewhat of a superfood that can supposedly treat almost anything. While people have certainly taken this to excessive levels, it truly is beneficial in many ways.

Coconut oil is harvested from both mature coconuts, coconut meat, and coconut palm, and it can be extracted through either a dry or wet process. The wet process is more commonly used to create coconut oil edible for human usage and involves creating an emulsion of oil and water using raw coconut.

Nutritional Benefits of Coconut Oil

The fats present in coconut oil are actually medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) fats which go straight to the liver.

This means it can be used as a fast energy source while also simultaneously turned into ketones. Ketones have been shown to benefit brainpower and are even used to help treat epilepsy1.

Coconut oil can also help you burn calories at a faster rate. Some studies have shown that it can increase this process by up to 5% per 24 hours.

Finally, coconut oil can actually help kill harmful microorganisms in our system. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which in turn creates monolaurin which can kill negative pathogens2.

In short, coconut oil is indeed beneficial to our bodies in a myriad of ways.

How Does MCT Oil Differ

Now that you understand what coconut oil is and how it’s beneficial, let’s shift focus to MCT oil.

MCT oil is the new kid on the block and is looking to supplant the godly coconut oil as the king of superfoods. You can now purchase MCT oil to use as a dietary supplement and incorporate it into your dietary plan.

Some people mix a little MCT oil together with their morning coffee, for example, to provide a fantastic boost early in the day.

So what actually is MCT oil and why could it be a great alternative to coconut oil?

What Is MCT Oil?

MCT Oil is essentially coconut or palm oil without the negative parts. It’s actually a man-made saturated fatty acid created in laboratory environments.

This might sound discouraging, but MCT oil is actually derived from two natural sources: coconut oil and palm oil. Some MCT oils are made exclusively from coconut oil, while others combine elements of both coconut and palm oil.

In short, the Medium Chain Triglycerides (hence the name MCT) from coconut and palm oil are removed from these natural sources and combined together to make MCT oil.

The main difference between coconut oil and MCT oil is that coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides and other compounds, whereas MCT oil is made exclusively of medium-chain triglycerides.

You might say it is a concentrated version of coconut oil containing only the beneficial parts.

Nutritional Benefits of MCT Oil

As mentioned, MCT oil holds similar benefits to coconut and palm oil. The main benefit of MCT oil is that medium-chain triglycerides can be digested quickly and are a clean fuel source for both our brain and body.

While coconut oil performs a similar task, MCT oil removes all the things from coconut oil that your body doesn’t need.

MCT has been related to increased weight loss3 as it can hasten your metabolic process and help burn calories quicker. If you take a small dose of MCT oil in the morning, for example, you can give your body a quick energy boost.

Additionally, some research has shown that MCT oil can help balance hormones and even improve insulin sensitivity.

Finally, if you are practicing a ketogenic diet, MCT oil can work wonders by providing a complimentary supplement for those trying to stay in ketosis.

Which Oil Should You Choose?

There is no denying that both coconut oil and MCT oil are beneficial to our bodies.

They work as great supplements to any healthy diet. However, MCT oil may just be the supplement of choice since it does not contain the negative effects of coconut oil due to the absence of LCTs.

In short, MCT oil is the superior version of coconut oil. For those on a ketogenic diet, MCT oil can work as a great supplement in combination with exogenous ketones to keep you in ketosis.


[1] Barañano KW, Hartman AL. The ketogenic diet: Uses in epilepsy and other neurologic illnesses. Curr Treat Options Neurol. 2008;10:410–9. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

[2] Kabara JJ, Swieczkowski DM, Conley AJ, Truant JP. Fatty Acids and Derivatives as Antimicrobial Agents. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. 1972;2:23–28. doi: 10.1128/AAC.2.1.23.

[3] St-Onge M.-P., Bosarge A., Goree L., Darnell B. Medium chain triglyceride oil consumption as part of a weight loss diet does not lead to an adverse metabolic profile when compared to olive oil. J. Am. Coll. Nutr. 2008;27:547–552. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719737.