MCT Powder Vs. Oil

Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) have become an increasingly popular supplement in recent years due to their many health benefits. MCTs are a type of fatty acid that is metabolized differently than other fats, leading to advantages like weight loss, increased energy, and improved cognitive function.

MCT Powder Vs. Oil

MCT supplements come in two main forms - MCT oil and MCT powder. Both provide the same MCTs to your body, but they have some key differences that make each better for certain uses.

What Are MCTs?

MCT stands for medium chain triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat molecule composed of three fatty acids bound to a glycerol backbone.

Most dietary fats are long chain triglycerides (LCTs), meaning their fatty acids have over 12 carbon atoms. LCTs require bile salts and pancreatic enzymes to break them down before they can be absorbed by your small intestine.

MCTs have shorter fatty acid chains of 6-12 carbon atoms. This allows them to bypass the digestion process and go straight from your stomach to your liver, where they are used for energy or converted into ketones.

The most common MCTs are:

  • Caproic acid (C6) - Metabolizes very quickly but can cause stomach discomfort
  • Caprylic acid (C8) - Most ketogenic MCT that is readily converted to energy
  • Capric acid (C10) - Also ketogenic but less rapidly metabolized than C8
  • Lauric acid (C12) - Has antiviral and antimicrobial properties but minimal impact on ketone production

MCT oil and powder supplements typically contain C8 and C10, which provide the most benefits for energy, cognitive performance, weight management, and ketone production.

Benefits of MCTs

Taking MCT oil or powder offers several evidence-based health benefits:

  • Promotes weight loss - By increasing fat burning, reducing appetite, and helping maintain ketosis on low-carb diets.
  • Boosts energy - MCTs are rapidly absorbed and used for energy by your body and brain.
  • Improves cognitive function - MCTs can cross the blood-brain barrier and act as an alternative brain fuel source.
  • Supports ketogenic diets - MCTs can quickly induce a state of mild ketosis even without carb restriction.
  • Enhances exercise performance - By providing readily available energy during intense exercise.
  • Supports heart health - Through improving cholesterol levels, blood sugar control, and reducing inflammation.

Both MCT oil and powder provide these same advantages, so the key differences lie in their form and applications.

What is MCT Oil?

MCT oil is a concentrated source of liquid medium chain triglycerides derived from coconut, palm kernel oil, or dairy sources. It has a thin, oily texture similar to coconut oil.

MCT oils typically provide 50-80% concentration of caprylic acid (C8) and capric acid (C10). Avoid products with significant amounts of C6, which can cause digestive distress.

The benefits of MCT oil include:

  • Concentrated source of MCTs - Provides a potent dose for maximum benefits.
  • Ketogenic - C8 and C10 MCTs efficiently convert to ketones.
  • Flavorless - Does not alter taste of foods when mixed in.
  • Versatile - Easy to add to coffees, smoothies, salad dressings, etc.

Since it is an oil, MCT oil has some downsides:

  • Messy - Can spill or leave oily residue.
  • Heating causes damage - Has a low smoke point so unsuitable for cooking.
  • GI distress - Liquid form can sometimes cause digestive issues.

Overall, MCT oil is a simple way to add concentrated MCTs to your diet. Just be mindful of its messiness and potential for stomach upset with overuse.

What is MCT Powder?

MCT powder offers the benefits of MCT oil in a convenient powdered form. It is made by taking pure MCT oil and binding it to a drying powder, allowing it to take on a fine consistency similar to protein powder.

The powder absorption process does dilute the MCT concentration slightly compared to a straight oil. But a high quality powder will still provide at least 50% MCTs by weight, along with healthy carriers like acacia fiber.

Advantages of MCT powder include:

  • Portable - Easy to travel with or take on-the-go.
  • Mixes easily - Can stir into coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, etc.
  • Gentler on stomach - Less likely to cause GI issues.
  • Higher applications - Suitable for baking or adding to foods.

Potential drawbacks are:

  • Slightly diluted MCTs - Due to the drying process.
  • Texture - Some may not like powdered texture.
  • Added ingredients - Fillers and emulsifiers needed to create powder.

MCT powders let you obtain all the same MCT oil benefits with more convenience and flexibility.

MCT Oil vs. MCT Powder

Now that you understand the basics of each supplement, here is a full comparison of the pros and cons:

AttributeMCT OilMCT Powder
ConvenienceMessy and hard to travel withVery portable and easy on-the-go
DigestionCan cause stomach upsetBetter tolerated
AbsorptionVery fastSlightly slower than oil
TasteNeutralVaries based on ingredients
ApplicationsMixes into liquids onlyMore versatile for recipes
Ingredients100% oilContains carriers and emulsifiers
CostCheaper per ounceTypically more expensive

To summarize:

  • MCT oil is more pure but less convenient, while MCT powder is very portable and versatile.
  • MCT oil can cause stomach upset, while MCT powder is easier to digest.
  • MCT oil is cheaper and absorbs quickest, but MCT powder has more applications for cooking/baking.

With an understanding of these key differences, you can decide which MCT supplement best fits your lifestyle and needs.

Key Takeaway: MCT oil is cheaper and more concentrated but harder to use, while MCT powder is very convenient and can be added to more foods and drinks. MCT powder tends to be gentler on digestion as well.

How to Take MCT Oil and Powder

To get the most out of your MCT supplement, here are some tips for usage:


  • Start with 1 tsp daily and gradually increase to 1-2 Tbsp maximum.
  • Add to coffee, smoothies, salad dressings, soups, etc.
  • Always mix or blend well to disperse evenly.
  • Can also take straight by the spoonful.
  • Purchase convenient travel packs if taking on-the-go.

MCT Powder

  • Begin with 1/2 - 1 scoop per day and work up to 2-3 scoops max.
  • Mix into coffee, shakes, oatmeal, yogurt, baked goods, etc.
  • Stir vigorously or use blender to fully dissolve powder.
  • Add to food or take prior to workouts for energy.

Be sure to drink plenty of water with both supplements to stay hydrated. Start slow and increase your dosage gradually over a few weeks to allow your body to adapt.

Choosing a Quality MCT Supplement

With the rising popularity of MCTs, many low quality oil and powder products exist on the market. Here are signs of a good MCT supplement:


  • 100% MCT oil, no fillers or additives
  • C8 and C10 only, no lauric acid or C6
  • Cold-pressed and virgin oil for purity
  • Clear indication of MCT source (coconut or palm)

MCT Powder

  • 50% or more MCT oil content
  • C8 and C10 MCT types listed
  • High-fiber carrier like acacia gum, no maltodextrin
  • No unnecessary additives or sweeteners
  • Naturally flavored options if desired

Choosing a reputable brand of MCT oil or powder ensures you get maximum benefits and value from your supplement. Check the label carefully for any low quality ingredients.

Recipes with MCTs

Adding MCT oil or powder to your normal diet is effortless. Here are just a few easy ways to incorporate MCTs:

  • Coffee - Add oil or powder to your morning coffee for an energy boost.
  • Smoothies - Blend MCT powder into your favorite protein or fruit smoothies.
  • Yogurt - Stir MCT powder into plain Greek yogurt for a filling breakfast.
  • Salad dressing - Whisk MCT oil into your regular vinaigrette.
  • Overnight oats - Mix MCT powder into overnight oats for extra morning fuel.
  • Energy bites - Substitute MCT oil for other oils when making homemade energy bite recipes.
  • Soups - Drizzle MCT oil into soups for a dose of healthy fats.

Don't be afraid to get creative with recipes using MCT oil or powder! Their neutral taste makes MCTs an easy addition to sweet and savory foods.

Key Takeaway: Both MCT oil and powder integrate seamlessly into meals and drinks like coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, salad dressings, soups and baked goods.


What's the difference between coconut oil and MCT oil?

Coconut oil contains MCTs plus longer chain fats. MCT oil extracts and concentrates only the medium chain triglycerides.

Should I cook with MCT oil?

No, MCT oil has a low smoke point so it's not suitable for cooking. Use for cold dishes instead.

How do I mix MCT powder into hot coffee?

Stir the powder first into a small amount of room temp water or milk to form a paste. Then add the paste to your hot coffee.

Can I take MCTs if I have diabetes?

Check with your doctor first, but MCTs may aid in blood sugar control. Start with small amounts to assess your tolerance.

Will MCTs put me into ketosis?

MCTs alone won't induce full nutritional ketosis. But they can help boost ketones alongside a very low carb diet.

What's the best time of day to take MCTs?

MCTs provide quick energy, so many take them in the morning or pre-workout. Take earlier in the day if they disrupt your sleep.


MCT oil and MCT powder offer very similar health and performance benefits. The key differences come down to their form and ease of use.

MCT oil is a more pure source, while MCT powder is more convenient and can be incorporated into a wider range of recipes. MCT powders also tend to be gentler on digestion.

The best MCT supplement depends on your personal needs and preferences. Try starting with a high quality oil or powder and experiment to see which works best for your lifestyle.

Sarah Cortez
Sarah Cortez

My name is Sarah and I'm a baker who loves trying out new recipes and flavor combinations. I decided to challenge myself to use a new spice or ingredient powder in my baking each week for a year. Some successes were the cardamom sugar cookies, vivid turmeric cake, and beetroot chocolate cupcakes. Failures included the bitter neem brownies and overwhelmingly hot ghost pepper snickerdoodles. Through this experience I've discovered amazing additions to spice up desserts while learning how to balance strong flavors. Follow my journey as I push the boundaries of baking with unique powders!

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