MCT oil and fasting often go hand-in-hand. In fact, many intermittent fasters swear by added weight loss benefits while using MCTs during the fasted state. But does MCT oil break a fast?
Whether you drink MCT oil coffee for the added health benefits, or to prolong your fasting period, keep reading to learn if the medium chain triglycerides that make up MCT oil help or hurt your fat burning efforts.
What Is MCT Oil?
Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are saturated fatty acids made up of medium length chains of dietary fat. Common sources of MCTs are coconut oil and palm kernel oil. Most MCT oil supplements are distilled from coconut oil.
MCTs are digested differently than LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) in that they are transported directly through the liver and converted into immediate usable energy. LCTs require an additional step where they are sent through the lymphatic system, and some are absorbed into fat tissue prior to being transported to the liver.
MCT Oil Benefits
There are several health claims associated with using a MCT oil supplement as part of a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting routine. Using MCT oil on keto is popular since many believe it can help you get into a state of ketosis more quickly.
That’s the reason so many keto dieters slip a tablespoon of MCT oil into their morning coffee. There are even some intermittent fasters who add a small amount of this pure fat into a cup of black coffee hoping to gain the same advantages.
Benefits of MCT Oil May Include:
Helps with Weight Loss: At least one study shows MCT oil promotes the release of hormones that help you feel full. The study says supplementing with this type of fat before a meal could help lower overall calorie intake. Less total caloric intake overtime could lead to more fat loss long term.
Provides an Energy Boost: Since MCTs are so easily digested and absorbed, some argue supplementing with MCT oil provides a quick burst of energy. When you mix it with caffeine in the form of bulletproof coffee, that’s a great way to amp up energy even more.
Improves Athletic Performance: One study showed supplementing with MCT oil increased body weight, grip strength, and walking speed amongst the elderly over a three month period.
Since leucine and vitamin D were also used in the study, they’re unable to conclude if MCT oil is the primary factor for these changes. Still, you can test supplementing with MCT oil during your workouts to see if you have similar results.
Fights Yeast and Bacteria Growth: MCT oil contains caprylic acid, capric acid and lauric acid. These have antimicrobial and antifungal effects. In fact, coconut oil (which contains MCTs) has been shown to reduce the growth of candida by 25% in an in-vitro study.
Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels: MCTs have been shown to reduce fat storage, while ramping up fat burning. The good news is this can help those with insulin resistance improve insulin sensitivity over a period of time.
Will MCT Oil Break A Fast?
Now that you’ve learned the amazing benefits of this fat burning powerhouse, you’re probably eager to add it into your intermittent fasting plan. But wait – does MCT oil break a fast?
Unfortunately there’s no straight forward answer since different people fast for different reasons. In order to answer the question – does MCT oil break intermittent fasting, you have to determine your main goal.
Some people add fasting into their daily routine to reap the amazing health benefits, as well as to avoid conditions like Alzheimer’s Disease. Others use this lifestyle change as a way to burn through stubborn body fat stores by ramping up ketone production. This is because using MCT oil can help you get into a ketogenic state more quickly.
If you fast for health purposes and have no interest in weight loss, you can still receive many of the benefits of fasting – even with a small dose of high quality fats during the fasting window. This form of dirty fasting can still yield results if autophagy is your end goal.
Adding MCT oil during the fasting window works for some people since small quantities of healthy fats won’t inhibit autophagy. That means using MCT oil during the fasting window may keep hunger pangs at bay, but you still receive many benefits of intermittent fasting beyond weight loss.
MCT Oil Fasting for Weight Loss
Will MCT oil break a fast intended for weight loss purposes?
If you follow a traditional fast for weight loss purposes, the short answer is yes – MCT oil breaks a fast. That’s because anything with calories, or anything with a sweet taste, breaks a traditional water fast.
Yes, even a non-caloric drinks like Gatorade Zero breaks a weight loss fast. In fact, when it comes to the fasting window – the only exception to the zero calories rule is black coffee and sometimes tea. However, even these drinks can cause an insulin response in sensitive individuals, which then breaks the fast.
Since MCT oil calories clock in at 130 per tablespoon, there’s no doubt a medium-chain triglyceride oil supplement breaks a weight loss fast. But if a MCT oil supplement breaks a fast, why do so many people use it as part of a fasting protocol?
When to take MCT Oil When Fasting
Even though intermittent fasting seems as simple as eat during the eating window and refraining from food while fasting, there are more nuances to a successful IF routine.
One reason intermittent fasters struggle with weight loss is attempting too much too soon. Even though it seems counterintuitive, more is not always better. Placing too much stress on your body all at once can backfire. This is true with how you feel, as well as the amount of weight you lose.
Most people believe intermittent fasting works because you eat fewer calories with a smaller eating window. But that’s not really where the weight loss magic happens. While you shouldn’t go overboard with daily calories, the real magic of intermittent fasting comes down to hormones.
Intermittent fasting is a hormetic stressor. While some hormetic stress is good to keep your metabolism on its toes, too much stress can backfire. That’s why it’s a great idea to ease into an intermittent fasting routine over time.
One way to ease into intermittent fasting is by revving ketones up with MCT oil during your fast. Keep in mind you will burn more stored fat without MCT oil during the fasting period. However, taking MCT oil when first starting out may be a great way to help your body adjust to pushing meals later.
While you technically broke your fast by consuming calories during the fasting window, MCT oil may be the push you need to push meals later in the day.
Taking MCT oil during your fast may also help with overeating once you break your fast. After all, you don’t want to negate all of the hard work you put in during your fast by binging on junk food once your eating period begins.
MCT Oil Side Effects and Warnings
Even with all of the additional benefits MCT oil provides to a keto and intermittent fasting combo, there are some precautions you should take – especially when first getting started.
Don’t Overdo MCT Oil:
Don’t use too much MCT oil while fasting, or even during your eating window. Keep in mind your body will always burn the fat you eat prior to burning stored body fat. While getting enough healthy fats is important to trigger ketosis, that’s not a license for a fat free-for-all.
While determining how much MCT oil per day is right for you depends on your individual stats and goals, most people can consume between 1-3 tablespoons daily for weight loss on a ketogenic diet. The amount that’s right for you is also determined by how many other healthy fats you consume with meals.
Try MCT Oil With Food First:
Some MCT oil side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and stomach discomfort. While working to improve digestion can help reduce these symptoms, try your first few doses with food to help limit any digestive issues that might occur.
Ramp Up Intake Slowly:
While it’s important for those new to a keto diet to ramp up all fats slowly, this is an especially important rule when it comes to MCT oil. If you’ve ever heard someone ask, “Does MCT oil make you poop?” please understand there’s a good reason for this question.
In fact, many doctors use MCT oil for constipation. That’s the reason you should start with a low dose of MCT oil. This helps you figure out how much you can tolerate. If you start with a full tablespoon dose, you may experience stomach cramping, painful gas, or diarrhea.
Follow A Low Carb Diet:
If you decide to add MCT oil to your intermittent fasting routine, it’s a good idea to follow a low carb diet. MCT oil contains a lot of calories from fat. Eating too much fat combined with too many carbs leads to weight gain for most people.
Most people get the health benefits of MCT oil with 1-3 tablespoons per day. Balance the amount of MCT oil you use with other healthy fats consumed each day.
Most health food stores carry MCT oil. You can also buy MCT oil at online retailers like Amazon or Thrive Market.
Cooking with MCT oil isn’t a good idea since it has a low smoke point.
Conclusion: Does MCT Oil Break Your Fast
The quick answer to the question does MCT oil break a fast is yes – if you’re fasting for weight loss. But that doesn’t mean MCT oil can’t help you push meals out further, because that’s also true for some people.
If you decide to use MCT oil during your fast, the best time is in the morning when hunger pangs kick in. While you may still get results with fasting with MCT oil, it’s still a good idea to work on removing this fasting crutch over time. After all, a clean fast is the best way to get weight loss results with intermittent fasting.
In fact, reverting to a clean fast is one thing that helped me finally ditch decades of miserable yo-yo diets. Want to learn other big mistakes I made that kept me stuck?
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