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MCT Oil Powder: Is It Right for You?

By Fitoru | 17 June 2019
tub of mct oil next to weights

MCT oil is often used by those on a ketogenic diet for salad dressings and to start their mornings with bulletproof coffee, but what are MCT oil powder benefits? This article compares MCT oil powder vs. MCT oil so you can decide which is right for you.

MCT oil powder vs. MCT oil facts.

What Are MCTs?

MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, fatty acids that can increase athletic performance and help you lose body fat, especially while keeping a low-carb, high-fat diet like the keto diet. The commonest forms of MCTs are caproic acid, caprylic acid, capric acid, and lauric acid, which respectively carry the lipid numbers C6, C8, C10, and C12. MCTs are derived from coconut oil or palm kernel oil, and a concentrated form of these powerful molecules can come in an oil or a powder form.

What Is MCT Oil Powder?

MCT oil powder is a convenient alternative to MCT oil. Many people find that consuming oil directly causes stomach upset and discomfort, while MCT oil powder brings the same health benefits of MCT oil without the potential side effects

MCT powder is developed from MCT oil via a process known as spray drying, wherein the manufacturers use special equipment to cause MCT oil to bind with fibrous microscopic carrier powders, thus turning the oil into a powdered form of delivery. Once this homogenization (a fancy word for blending) is complete, you’re left with a portable powder that’s easier to use and mix into just about any smoothie or recipe you’d like.

MCT Oil vs. Powder: Which Should You Choose?

While MCT powder and MCT oil are essentially the same product, there are unique features associated with each form that may impact whether or not it’s the right product for you, or whether you’d like to have both on hand to use in various different circumstances. Here are the quick pros and cons of these two MCT products.

The Convenience Factor

MCT powders make an incredibly good showing here, as the powdered form of MCT oil can be a lot less messy and more convenient to transport than liquid MCT oil products. If you’re taking a bottle of oil back and forth to work or the gym, you may find a powder alternative much more desirable. MCT oil is also available in gel capsule form, which is an even more convenient way to get the oil without the mess.

Mixing and Texture Quality

People use MCT oil products to add healthy fats to foods or beverages in an effort to get enough fats without contributing to their net carb intake. You know the phrase “they get along like oil and water”? That means they don’t mix at all, and that’s a problem MCT oil has that MCT oil powder does not. Dropping oil into coffee is doable, but it won’t blend, and blending oil in smoothies might give it a slick, greasy texture you don’t necessarily want. While MCT oil can serve you quite well as a healthy cooking oil or salad dressing base, or even for baking, it may not work as well as a powder can for blending.

However, no matter which option you prefer, it’s important to choose a high-quality MCT product, as the low-quality MCT powders can contain fillers and starches you don’t want. Likewise cheap MCT oils, though they do not contain added fillers, may suffer heat damage during manufacturing and contain other unwanted impurities. For more on how to choose a high-quality product, read on to the end of this article where we address what to look for when buying.

While there isn’t a lot of scientific research comparing MCT powders to oils, one 2017 study found that emulsified MCT powder was more ketogenic than standard MCT oil and came with fewer side effects.

Digestion Disturbances

Consuming MCT oil can often cause digestive issues like upset stomach, diarrhea, nausea, and irritability among those who use it, while MCT powders are reportedly easier to digest. If you’ve ever experienced such side effects, you may want to look into powdered MCT supplementation instead.

MCT Health Benefits

However you consume them, the healthy benefits of MCTs are still pretty similar and include:

  • Absorption aid: MCTs can absorb into your gastrointestinal tract without the need of bile salts (required by other fats), which is why doctors sometimes prescribe MCTs to those with malabsorption, malnutrition, diminished fat metabolism, or other gastrointestinal disorders.
  • MCTs for ketogenic energy: The best MCT oil powder for keto is made up mostly or entirely of caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10). Once you’ve reached a state of ketosis through careful dieting, MCTs can quickly turn into ketone bodies and keep you in the fat-burning golden zone, as was shown in this study from 2018 which found that those taking 30 milliliters of MCTs 3 times daily had increased ketone levels and fewer symptoms of keto flu.
  • Immune function: MCTs are able to independently bring about immune activation.
  • Appetite suppression: MCTs have been shown to increase satiety and reduce energy intake.
  • Brain health and cognitive function: With no side effects, MCTs are able to promote brain energy metabolism by up to 9%.
  • Weight loss and gut health: Dietary MCTs have been found to aid lipid catabolism, promote energy expenditure, and help with weight loss.

How to Find High-Quality MCT Oil Powder

When you’re looking for a high-quality MCT oil powder supplement, first you want to check for what it shouldn’t have, which is unnecessary filler ingredients. This is important because low-quality MCT powder supplements can negatively affect your energy levels, or spike your blood sugar and interrupt ketosis. As much as MCT oil can cause stomach upset for some people, low-quality MCT powder might also cause digestive issues or even allergic reactions to industrial fillers.

So, no thickeners, preservatives, anti-caking compounds, food dyes, emulsifiers, soluble corn fiber, maltodextrin products, liquid glucose, or other additives. After that however, here’s what you want to look for when choosing an MCT powder supplement.

  • Your product should be allergen-free.
  • If there is flavoring added, it should come from healthy, natural ingredients.
  • MCT oil powder should be sterilized and refined with low-heat processes, to help preserve the enzymatic and nutritious qualities of the oil.
  • The powdered oil supplement should contain caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10) vs. lauric acid (C12), which takes longer to metabolize and is not as effective in supporting ketosis.
  • Your chosen product should come 100% from coconuts, and not be derived from palm oil or a palm oil blend. There’s just no reason to purchase an unsustainable product with hefty and adverse environmental impacts.
  • The carriers used to attach the oil to a powdered form should be fiber-based and natural (as in tapioca starch or acacia fiber).

These ingredients are required to be on the food label, so check it out and make sure there are only two main ingredients (the fewer the better): MCTs and the natural carrier they’re bonded with to form a powder.

How to Use MCT Oil Powder

Once you’ve got your high-quality MCT oil powder, how do you use it? Can you still put MCT oil powder in coffee just like the oil? You sure can! 

Most of the clinical trials have used MCT dosages of about 30 grams (approximately 1 ounce) 1-3 times daily. It’s advised to start taking MCT powder slowly and gradually until you find out how it affects you and whether or not your body needs more. While MCT oil powder side effects are way lower than those of pure MCT oil, taking too much too quickly can still cause stomach upset. 

Begin with small amounts and experiment with the timing that works best for you, whether it’s more useful at breakfast, dinner, for periods of intermittent fasting, or pre- or post-workout for a clean energy source.

MCTs Your Way

It’s up to you how you take your medium-chain triglycerides…in an oil form, powder form , capsule form (or all three!), MCTs are a powerful and fast-acting enhancement for those trying to perfect keto dieting, and can help reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. On top of that, MCT supplementation brings improved brain function, natural appetite suppression, more energy, and efficient weight loss. High-quality MCT supplements, full of the good stuff without any extraneous fillers, can be the key to taking your diet and fitness to the next level.

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