Fasting can be done for weight loss, for resting an inflamed digestive tract, and even for spiritual purposes, but does MCT oil break a fast, or can it be used to help keep you energized while in a fasting state? We have the answer to this question and more.
MCT stands for “medium-chain triglycerides,” saturated fats found naturally in palm and coconut oil. When isolated, these triglycerides make up a tasteless oil that people often utilize while dieting to control hunger and aid weight loss.
Upon ingestion, MCTs zoom to the liver where they’re turned into ketones, an alternative energy source to glucose (sugar). Ketones can not only replace sugar energy in most bodily processes, but they can also provide energy to your brain because they are able to cross the blood-brain barrier directly.
Ketones that come from burning your own body fat are known as endogenous ketones. MCT oil revs up your body’s production of these ketones.
Those on the ketogenic diet often utilize MCT oil to curb their hunger and kickstart their journey to ketosis, an alternative metabolic state that can lead to rapid yet safe body fat loss. Because MCT oil is flavorless, it can be dropped easily into keto or Bulletproof coffee or a healthy green smoothie.
So we know it’s a terrific complement to a keto diet, but those of you on a fasting track might be wondering, does MCT oil break a fast? Stay tuned for the answer!
The health benefits of fasting include the ability to better control your blood sugar and insulin levels (especially if you keep away from refined sugar entirely by using non-sugar sweeteners like stevia). And the proven benefits of intermittent fasting include increased fat-burning and improved insulin sensitivity.
Fasting works in two ways. First, when you are in a fasted state, the body is forced to access stored fat for energy, which leads to better weight management. Second, fasting ultimately teaches your body to better value your caloric intake when it arrives and to absorb those nutrients to the fullest extent.
Fasting typically requires abstaining from eating for 16+ hours while consuming water. Morning coffee is allowed on many fasts as well, so if you’re wondering “Does coffee break a fast?” the answer is it does not, so long as you don’t take it with sugary creamers! But how about MCT oil in that coffee? Let’s find out!
Short answer: no, MCT oil does not automatically break a fast! Not only does MCT oil not interrupt a fast when used properly, but it can actually increase your feelings of satiety and mental clarity while you are fasting. Many people will sip on bone broth or keto coffee during fasting hours to stave off feelings of hunger and give their bodies enough energy to function at work, but that’s not all MCT oil can do.
Medium-chain triglycerides are healthy fats that are more complex than the fast sugar found in carbs. Because of that, your body must work longer to digest MCTs. Instead of interrupting with hunger pangs while you’re trying to concentrate, your body is happily at work digesting some form of fuel even as you fast.
MCT oil isn’t alone in this ability. Ghee, grass-fed butter, and whole-milk products like heavy cream are also keto-friendly sources of healthy fats that can help you burn body fat and not (as so many people are led to believe thanks to the marketing behind “low-fat” and “fat-free” products) pack it on instead.
Autophagy is yet another form of metabolism humans are built with, this one for recycling cellular leftovers into useable material for new cell synthesis. Autophagy is so integral to human health that it’s always happening somewhere in the human body, though as with many vital processes it starts to slow down as we get older (past the age of 25). Intermittent fasting can help trigger autophagy, which for some is vitally important for clearing the buildup of proteins in the brain that is characteristic of neurodegenerative diseases (1).
MCT oil does not disrupt autophagic processing. Instead, MCT oil helps you shorten your eating window and fast longer without discomfort.
Because MCTs are fats, they help keep your body in the fat-burning business. This is the fundamental principle behind the keto diet. By denying your body access to the sugars in carbs and providing it more than sufficient amounts of healthy fats, you help the body switch gears and harvest first your dietary fats for energy, and then the body fat stored away on your frame.
Not only does fat burning lead to weight loss and a leaner figure, but it also allows you to access visceral fat, which is fat stored deep in your torso, in and around your vital organs. Visceral fat is often the hardest to get rid of through normal diet and exercise, but a state of ketosis can get in there and excise even the most hidden fat for necessary fuel.
Each of us fasts at night while we sleep, and some continue that fast into the next day for various reasons: weight loss, improved insulin response, to adhere to their faith, etc. The benefits of MCT oil not only stand on their own merits, but they also contribute to a successful fast without derailing your efforts. So put a dollop of MCT oil into your cup of black coffee and rest easy knowing it won’t break your fast!