A bottle of MCT oil next to a cup of bulletproof coffee with the word LOVE

MCT Oil and Fasting: Does it Enhance or Break Your Fast?

Kate Fowler

If you’re like me, you may have jumped on the intermittent fasting bandwagon in hopes of shedding some stubborn pounds, boosting your energy levels, or simply resetting your relationship with food. After all, studies show that intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss of 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks.

But navigating the dos and don’ts can sometimes feel like a minefield. One question that keeps popping up is whether consuming MCT oil during a fast is allowed or if it negates all your hard work. Let’s dive in!

What is MCT Oil?

Before we address the big question, let’s go over what MCT oil is. MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides, a type of saturated fatty acid. Unlike long-chain triglycerides found in foods like nuts, oils, and animal fats, MCTs are more easily digested and rapidly absorbed by the body. This is because they are smaller molecules that require less energy expenditure to break down. MCT oil is also more ketogenic, meaning it promotes higher ketone production compared to long-chain fats.

Does MCT Oil Break a Fast?

Now, the million-dollar question: Does MCT oil break a fast? It depends on your goals. If promoting autophagy (clearing out damaged cells) or keeping insulin rock-bottom is key, any caloric intake above 50 calories, including MCT oil, would technically break your fast.

However, if fat burning and ketone production are priorities, moderate MCT oil (1-2 tbsp) is often considered acceptable. Here’s why: MCTs are rapidly absorbed and metabolized by the liver into ketones rather than being stored. So while they provide calories, they generally don’t spike insulin or glucose levels the way other foods might.

Clear bottle of MCT oil with dropper, essential for ketogenic and fasting diets.

A study found that consuming 18-24g of MCTs induced mild ketosis in participants and increased metabolic rate by up to 5% over 24 hours. Not too shabby!

It’s important to note that everyone responds differently. Some report increased energy and satiety when including MCT oil during fasts, while others say it negatively impacts their fast. You may need to experiment.

The Bottom Line

Whether MCT oil technically “breaks” your fast comes down to your personal goals. If promoting hardcore autophagy and insulin control is paramount, it’s best to avoid it along with any other caloric intake. However, if fat-burning and ketosis are priorities, a reasonable amount may be an acceptable addition for many.

Do your research, listen to your body, and consult professionals as needed, especially if you have any underlying conditions. Intermittent fasting can be an incredible tool, but a little grace for yourself is essential too! A bit of MCT oil here and there certainly won’t derail all your efforts.

Got it, here’s an FAQ focused specifically on MCT oil and intermittent fasting:

MCT Oil and Intermittent Fasting FAQ

Q: What exactly is MCT oil?

A: MCT oil is a supplement made from medium-chain triglycerides, which are a specific type of saturated fatty acid. Unlike long-chain fatty acids, MCTs are easily digested and rapidly absorbed by the body to be used for energy.

Q: Why would someone want to use MCT oil during intermittent fasting?

A: There are a few potential benefits of using MCT oil while fasting:

  1. It can help increase ketone production, putting you in a deeper level of ketosis.
  2. It may help curb appetite and make fasting more manageable.
  3. MCTs are a quick source of energy that shouldn’t spike insulin levels.

Q: How much MCT oil can you have during a fast without breaking it?

A: Most sources say having 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil is generally acceptable for fat-burning fasts. Anything more than that could potentially trigger an insulin response that negates the fast.

Q: Will having MCT oil completely break my fast?

A: It depends on your fasting goals. If you’re fasting for maximum autophagy and keeping insulin suppressed, then any source of calories like MCT oil would technically break the fast. But if fat-burning is the priority, a moderate amount of MCTs is often considered OK.

Q: When is the best time to have MCT oil during a fast?

A: Many people choose to have their MCT oil first thing in the morning or before a workout to take advantage of the quick energy it provides. However, you can experiment with different timing to see what works best for you.

Q: Are there any side effects from having MCT oil while fasted?

A: For some people, especially when first starting MCT oil, it can potentially cause digestive issues like diarrhea, cramping, or bloating if too much is consumed. It’s best to start with small amounts and build up slowly.

Q: What’s the difference between MCT oil powder and liquid oil?

A: The powdered form is simply MCT oil that has been spray-dried into a powder, allowing you to easily mix it into liquids. The liquid MCT oil tends to be more cost-effective if you plan on taking larger doses.

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