MCT Oil vs MCT Powder
Dec 22, 2020

What is MCT Oil?

MCT oil has been used therapeutically for many years to assist with a variety of nutritional and neurological conditions such as Crohn’s disease, fat malabsorption syndrome, epilepsy, and failure to thrive in newborns [1]. In fact, just over 10% of the fat content in breast milk comes from MCTs and synthetic MCT oil is added to most commercial infant formulas for its health benefits and to help with brain development. Other benefits of the therapeutic use of MCT oil include improved gut health from their naturally occurring antimicrobials [2, 3], increased brain function due to rapid ketone production, and increased metabolic function due to their thermogenic effect (increased calorie burn).

While MCTs do occur naturally in small amounts in some foods, such as milk fat, coconut oil, and palm oil, commercial MCT oil is a synthetic product combining optimal ratios of these naturally occurring MCTs. The four MCTs found naturally occurring in foods are Caproic Acid (the shortest in length with 6 carbons), Caprylic Acid (8 carbons), Capric Acid (10 carbons), and Lauric Acid (12 carbons) [1]. The shorter the MCT, the faster it is converted to ketones in the liver, providing fast energy for the brain and body. Therefore, when shopping for products, it is best to look for oils with higher ratios of shorter MCTs (typically caprylic and capric acids) for efficiency in energy production.

MCT oil is great drizzled on salads and vegetables, added to soups and broths, mixed into full-fat yogurt and cottage cheese, or blended into coffee and tea. It can also replace olive oil in salad dressings and sauces (such as pesto and chimichurri). Avoid using MCT oil for cooking because it has a low smoke point; coconut oil is a better option due to a higher smoke point.

MCT Oil Powder-1

What is MCT Powder?

MCT powder is a more recent version of the good stuff that has some benefits over its oil counterpart.  Most MCT powders have somewhere between a 50%-80% MCT oil makeup, with the remainder of ingredients coming in the form of starch derivatives (carbs) and milk proteins.  It is important to seek out products that contain a high Fat:Protein+Carb ratio in order to prevent insulin spikes and subsequent decrease in ketone production. An example of a good ratio is 70:30.

MCT Powder vs. MCT Oil

Why choose a powder vs. an oil? For most people, the number one reason is convenience. Powders are often sold in single-serve packets for easy transportation and on-the-go consumption. They’ll even make it through airport security! They can be added to liquids to make a shake or added to coffee as a “creamer.” They can be combined with exogenous ketone supplements to create a ketone-boosting powerhouse.

The other main reason many people opt for powders over oils is because they are more tolerable in the gut. Most people note fewer symptoms of gastrointestinal distress when using powders over oil. With less tummy distress, a greater amount of MCT powder can be consumed, leading to increased ketone production. It’s recommended to introduce MCTs in small amounts and to consume it slowly (over half an hour). If you’re new to MCT oil, start with a teaspoon and work your way up to a full tablespoon. With the powder form, start with half a serving size and work your way up to a full serving over a few days.


Upon harvest, the creamy white meat of the coconut is scooped from the shell by hand, then cold-pressed to create the Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. To create Organic MCT Oil, we slowly chill the virgin coconut oil to separate the solid fats, leaving Organic MCT Oil. To make our Organic MCT Powder, we combine this MCT oil with organic prebiotic acacia fiber and organic tapioca maltodextrin before drying with hot air until a fine powder is produced. Learn more about this process HERE.

nutritional value

Both forms of MCT make for great dietary supplements. The Organic MCT Oil has 13g MCTs, 0g trans fat and cholesterol per serving while the Organic MCT Powder has 10g MCTs and 0g carbs per serving. Because the MCT oil is slightly more concentrated, we recommend that you work your way up to a full serving so that you don’t upset your stomach. The powder, on the other hand, is easier on the digestive system and a full serving can be consumed right away.

taste and usage

If you’re looking for a neutral flavor that blends easily into hot and cold beverages, we recommend the MCT powder. Our MCT oil can also be used in beverages but its subtle coconut flavor makes for a versatile oil that’s perfect for fruit smoothies, high protein snacks and even cold soups or salad dressings!

MCT Oil Powder Benefits

Health Benefits of Medium-Chain Triglycerides(MCT POWDER)

Unlike most dietary fats, MCTs diffuse directly from your gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) to your portal system, without requiring bile salt production. (You need bile salts to digest all other fats.)

For this reason, doctors often give patients suffering from malnutrition, malabsorption, or impaired fat metabolism medium-chain triglycerides.

Medium-chain triglycerides are an excellent, clean source of ketogenic energy when they include the proper combination of MCTs. The highest-quality MCT supplements primarily or exclusively contain caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10).

Consuming medium-chain triglycerides can offer some of the benefits of ketosis before you’re completely fat-adapted.

According to a study of 28 healthy adults who took 30 milliliters (about one fluid ounce) of MCTs three times per day for 20 days, taking MCT supplements increases ketone levels and reduces the adverse symptoms that sometimes occur when starting a keto diet, aka, keto flu[*].

Other studies demonstrate that taking MCTs offers a wide range of benefits such as improving gut health, aiding immune function, reducing appetite, encouraging healthy weight loss, improving cognition and brain health, reducing the risk of heart disease, and enhancing exercise performance.


Whichever form you choose, MCTs are a great way to take your ketogenic lifestyle to the next level. They’re an all-natural way to manage weight, improve your physical and mental performance, and help curb cravings.

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Mahan, L.K.; Escott-Stump, S., Raymon, J.L. Krause’s Food and the Nutrition Care Process, 13th  2012, 46, 632.

Mercola, Joseph. Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Caner, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy.  2107, 84-86. 

Rial, S.A.; Karelis, A.D.; Bergeron, K-F.; Mounier, C.  Gut Microbiota and Metabolic Health: The Potential Beneficial Effects of a Medium Chain Triglyceride Diet in Obese Individuals.

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