MCT oil for quick energy?

(Jamie) #1

With my limited understanding of how these things work, I’m wondering if MCT oil can be used for quick energy on a long ride the way sugar gels are used by carbies?

IE: could you mix up a coconut oil/MCT oil mixture to use as an energy gel?

(Jeramy Koval) #2

I’m not a doctor or trainer so take this for what it’s worth. :slightly_smiling_face:

Short answer is no, it won’t have the same effect as fast acting carbs. I believe in the 20 net carb rule when on keto but only on my sedentary days. When I plan to hit the gym hard, go mountain biking or a long ride on my road bike I still use fast acting carbs. I have about 10-15g pre workout about 30min beforehand. I might have another 10-15 during and/or after depending on how I feel and how long I’m active. Usually some diluted Gatorade or Hammer Heed.

(Michael - When reality fails to meet expectations, the problem is not reality.) #3

Short answer is maybe. Longer answer depends on what exactly you mean by ‘quick’: 1-30 minutes, probably not, but 30-60 minutes probably yes. For how long? Depends how much you ingest and at what intervals.

semi pertinent:
most pertinent:

For example. Each morning I make what I call a ‘true keto’ coffee which contains a mix of fats and proteins matching my current macro ratios. The mix includes both MCT, coconut oil, ghee and whipping cream. The MCT is in there to give me a ‘quick and short term’ energy boost and ignite the day’s fat burn, which it does from about 30-60 minutes. The other fats are in there to take over slowly from 60 minutes as the MCT gets burned out.

Now I’m not doing this to prep for a long bicycle ride so the amount of MCT in my keto coffee is only 10 grams. And I’m drinking it over the course of about half an hour. So the MCT is really just ‘trickling slowly’ into my system. Even so it kicks off the day’s fat burn and preps my metabolism to convert the longer chain fatty acids derived from the other fats more efficiently into ketones.

Make of this what you will. My only caution is increase MCT oil slowly in your testing, as a lot of folks find that a little bit is just enough and a a little bit too much means intestinal blowout. :frowning_face:

(less is more, more or less) #4

Welcome to the forums, @Gaidheal!

I maintain an active workout regimen, though I’m 56 and non-competitive. I’ve written elsewhere how wonderful it is to jog past runners sucking those damn gel packs as if their life depended on it. The only thing I do before a half-marathon run is drink saline – maybe 2 - 3 teaspoons of salt mixed into 12 - 15 ounces of water, and then occasional water on my run. As Prof Noakes warns, you can drink too much water, but I don’t know what the cut off is. I used to follow the “drink and don’t wait to get thirsty” rule, but no longer. “More water is better” is wrong. Of course, if you’re in the high heat and sweating profusely, your water and salt intake should adjust. I wish to emphasize, however, that as your body becomes fat-adapted, it will continually change by way of requirements. This is why you so frequently see “Keep Calm and Keto On” here. Keto or low-carb is not magic, and it’s as difficult as any journey of self-discovery. But, I can assure you, it is rewarding.

Once you’re fat adapted, your needs will change. Some endurance athletes take small amounts of carbs before an event. I don’t take any, but I’m not competitive. If you are competitive, you would benefit by seeking out a professional who specializes in low-carb training.

Let us know how it goes!

(Jamie) #5


I’m not competitive:i cycle-commute as much as the weather allows (I no longer ride in the snow… the salt on the roads is too hard on bikes). 16km (10 miles) each way. Maybe 3-5000 km/year commuting.

Fun rides evenings and weekends that can be 100km each. I’m planning on getting out to 200 km in a day, maybe more.

I will experiment with fuel for sure as this year is the 1st I’ve been Keto. OMAD, which made me wonder if the two 16km rides a day to get to work would be a problem as both rides would be fasted.

No problem so far… except for the 1 ride i did in March which i knew was foolish but i had to know: 1st ride if the season was a hilly 16km ride - on day 3 of a 3-day fast.

Made it to work (despite forgetting to drink anything before i left!) But opted for a ride home. Haha


Ok… not weighing in on your actual question but want to pass along a warning.

If you aren’t already really adjusted to using MCT oil you should learn how it affects you first and build up to it. It can cause stomach issues (rather explosive ones) Taking some then going for a bike ride might not be advisable if you aren’t ready for it.

(Scott) #7

The only thing MCT oil is going to do quick ain’t gonna happen in your muscles. How fast can you get out those tight bike shorts?

(less is more, more or less) #8

I’d cycle-commute more if I could, but you sound similar to me. You’ll love this way of eating, then.

Note: I used to do intermittent fasting. I hate 24+ fasting and do everything I can to avoid it. However, for the past 4 weeks, I’ve been having raw eggs in my tea and the results have positively astonished me. So no more IF and I continue to do well. However, I am approaching year two. YMMV.


What I was trying to say but you said it much better!

(less is more, more or less) #10


Medium Chain Triglycerides or Marketing Collusion Trap? Enjoy coconut oil as the occasion calls, which contains MCTs. I’m highly suspect of commercially rendered MCT.

(Steaks b4 cakes! 🥩🥂) #11

Yea to this!!
I got suckered into this stuff in my early keto days…realised how damn expensive it is and how I can get the same benefits from coconut oil alone and haven’t looked back! I still have a full bottle of MCT oil in my cupboard collecting dust. I even tried to cook with it so as not to waste it and I didn’t enjoy it!

(Scott) #12

I got a bottle of MCT when I started too. I just bought my second bottle after I emptied the first. Don’t use it daily but still enjoy putting a tablespoon in my coffee now and then

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #13

If you’ve been eating a ketogenic diet long enough to have become fat-adapted, the energy is just there; I’m not sure why you would need “quick” energy. Eventually, if one stays fat-adapted long enough, even stored glycogen returns to a level equal to that in a carb-burning athlete, as recent research by Volek has shown. I assume that means that even explosive performance eventually is not hindered by a ketogenic diet.

I suppose the answer to your question would depend on your circumstances, and what you mean by “quick.” Dr. Phinney says that once he started on the ketogenic diet, he became effectively bonk-proof, and that the same appears to be equally true for the fat-adapted athletes he and Prof. Volek have studied.

(Jamie) #14

Thanks… for me my thoughts on “quick” would be for bursts of high intensity efforts like climbing long hills quickly.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #15

For that, I should think that glucose would be more helpful, whether from your own internal store, or from eating carbohydrate. I can’t imagine that eating fats or ketones would provide a quick energy burst.

(Joseph) #16

UCAN superstarch seems to agree with me. Started using it to avoid the spikes & crashes in the blood glucose. It’s expensive though. I like the bars. I started out just eating some cheese and an avocado to get something in the stomach then switched to a UCAN bar.

My fasted rides are generally shorter. I did two 4 hours fasted ride (so far, ride end coincide with the end of an 18 hour fast) and a number of 3+ hour fasted rides where I eat after two hours in (generally 16 hours fasted before feasting). The pace is around lower tempo, 0.85> IF >0.80. I’m pretty sure tacking on a workout at the end for a total fasting period over 18 hours is out of the question for me and four hours seems to be my limits.