Study showing that MCTs really might help on a keto diet

(Bob M) #1

Here’s a study showing what I think are dramatic benefits from taking MCTs (medium chain triglycerides, think coconut oil but better):

There were three groups, all on a very low calorie keto diet (VLCKD), 800 cals/day. One control group, two with added MCTs.

These are the MCTs they were taking:

Remarkably silent on what this stuff is. Although this is probably similar:

I seem to remember thinking that all “C8” (the type of fat) was better, but double the price:

I may have to add some of this to my daily routine for a while, to see what happens. (I remember that you have to start slow…otherwise you could end up the bathroom.)

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

Was the caloric value of the MCT’s included in the 800 calories, or in addition?

(B Creighton) #3

Yep, I’ve been espousing the benefits of MCTs on this site since I came here. In a sense coconut oil is better… at least a much cheaper alternative to pure MCTs, because about a quarter of the lauric acid will get converted to ketones like its MCTs, which are only about 15% of the fat in coconut oil. Since lauric acid makes up almost 50% of coconut oil, the 25% conversion to ketones, boosts the effective ketone potential of coconut oil to about 27%, which is quite good. For instance it is much better than goat fat, which is also about 15% MCTs.


I am happy to see this study since I just ordered MCT oil this morning. I was hoping it would boost my ketone and weight loss. I lost considerable wight in 2018 and have started back on keto but things are slower than before. I realized the only difference was I took the oil last time.

(Bob M) #5

@PaulL Good question. I think it was in addition, but I’m not sure after reading the study again.

@scaperdude I did not know that goat fat is 15% MCTs. That’s interesting, as I now eat yogurt from goat milk.

@Codagirl It might. Consider this paragraph (the “this effect” from the first line = body weight loss from MCTs independent of energy intake):


hyperketonaemia = higher ketones

I’ve tried MCTs in the past, but remember them causing gastrointestinal distress, unless I got the C8 variety (expensive). However, I found some MCT oil last night, and took 1 teaspoon. Nothing bad at that level. I might try 1tsp each time I eat (OMAD today, normally 2MAD) to see what happens. If that’s OK, I’ll order/buy more to test them.

(Central Florida Bob ) #6

Included link is to Bulletproof brand Brain Octane. I tried that exact stuff early on in my keto years, around summer of 2015, and would get terrible stomach pains some hours later. Middle of body, felt like right below my sternum. About a year later, I started getting that pain again and ended up with getting my gall bladder removed. No, I don’t think the Brain Octane did something to my gall bladder, I think it was an early warning that it was going bad.

While reading the Bulletproof website, several people said they had the same problem and were told to start out with small doses and work your way up. Since digesting fats and oils is what bile is for, I’ve never tried it again after I had that removed, although I think I eat anything I feel like.


I was looking for the dosage of MCT’s given to participants. I think I found the amount they were given. Let me know if I am wrong.

The paper, under discussion, says: “The present study showed that individuals undergoing a VLCKD with daily MCTs supplementation (20 g/day) obtained a higher body weight loss than individuals supplied with VLCKD alone.”

(Alex ) #8

Unfortunately for me, the overall picture of stomach upset and generally wanting to sh@t myself puts me off using MCTs on a regular basis. Occasionally buy the stuff after falling for all the marketing hype, and then usually regret it.

(Bob M) #9

Here’s another one:

“MCTs supplementation (20 g/day) provided 163.8 kcal and 18.2 g of fat.”

In rethinking this, I think this was part of the 800 calories, so there were another 636 calories of something else.

Of course, what happens when someone is eating as much as they want could be different.

I am interested in this because I’ve been eating yogurt from goat milk and coconut flakes with some dark chocolate every night. And I’ve lost weight while doing so.

It turns out that goat milk has some MCTs in it, as I’m sure do the coconut flakes. So, I’m wondering if it’s the MCTs that are having an effect?

By the way, why are these called MCTs instead of short(er)-chain saturated fats, which is what they are? And I wonder if they called them “short-chain saturated fats”, would that freak out most of the people who are taking them? (“MCTs = good! Saturated fats = bad!” :wink:)

Another thing that I’ve noticed is that my ketones, which were 0.1-0.2 mmol/l in the morning, are now more like 0.3 mmol/l in the morning. An effect of the MCTs? Not sure, since I didn’t take for a while.

I also had “issues” with MCTs, which is what kept me away from them for a long time. I’m trying to “ease” into them by taking 1 teaspoon per meal. We’ll see what happens.

(Edith) #10

Yes! Please keep us updated.

(Bob M) #11

Still working on it. Initially, it appears there’s a lot less hunger (at 1.5 tsp a meal, two meals a day), higher ketones, and…lower blood sugar. Last one is (?), as I can’t figure out why.

For instance, yesterday, I ate “lunch” with my 1.5 tsp of MCTs…and wouldn’t have eaten dinner at all. But my daughter was alone, so I ate with her. And I wanted to finish chicken we had that was on its seventh day. But I was so full that I didn’t take my second 1.5 tsp of MCT.

Today, I had lunch with 1.5 tsp of MCT around 10:30am, and it’s 5:30pm, and I’m still not hungry. About to go home, not sure how much I’ll eat before we go out again to a school event.

Both days are body weight training days, and today I also did 15 minutes of HIIT. This normally means I’m hungrier (yes, exercise makes me hungry; weird). And I’m not.

But I’ll set up an N=1 thread about it, after some more days into it.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #12

If I understand correctly, I think Amber’s hypothesis is that eating a bit more fat provides substrate for greater ketone production, rendering glucose less necessary.

(Edith) #13

Are you using any particular type of MCT oil? I may give this a try as well. I have recently upped my fat intake, but I haven’t been testing ketones. Maybe I should give that a go for a bit and see what I measure. When I did test ketones five years ago, they always tended to be on the low side. I do find I have better energy with higher fat and lower protein. A big protein meal, particularly at lunch puts me to sleep.