We’re often asked whether taking MCT oil will break your fast.
The (TLDR;) – too long don’t read – answer is no. Supplementing with MCT oil while fasting will not throw you off track when it comes to your fast. It can actually be very beneficial, making your fast more beneficial and effective.
How MCT Oil Benefits You During A Fast
- It can help you get into nutritional ketosis faster.
- MCT oil is great for eliminating hunger pains and cravings.
- They can give you more mental energy and boost your ability to focus (eliminate brain fog).
- A serving of MCTs pre-workout when you’re fasting will give you more energy and stamina.
- When used regularly, they’ll help you lose excess body fat faster.
Why MCTs Don’t Break Your Fast
Generally speaking, for something to stop your fast it needs to cause enough of a spike in your blood sugar and insulin levels so your body will go from being in nutritional ketosis (fat burning) to using sugar and protein for its energy instead. Other important factors are what and how much you ate at your last meal, how long it’s been since you’ve eaten, and how active you’ve been, i.e whether or not you’ve used up the carbohydrates stored in your muscles
Since medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) don’t raise your insulin or blood sugar levels or affect the other factors I mention, they’re not going to ruin your fast.
The Best Reasons For Taking MCTs During A Fast
- At the beginning of your fast
- When you have cravings that won’t go away
- If you’re feeling mentally foggy and unfocused
- when you need a boost of energy
You can take MCTs everyday – whether you’re fasting or not – but it’s probably not necessary for most of us.
When I was first fasting and eating one meal a day, I did. Going from several small meals to one was very tough. My energy was low, I was constantly hungry, felt physically weak, had headaches, and had trouble getting work done due to terrible focus.
Taking a tablespoon of MCT oil with my daily meal, which is at dinner time, and then again the next morning really helped. Any feelings of hunger and cravings were significantly reduced and often eliminated. I also had a lot more energy and didn’t suffer from the ‘keto flu’ or brain fog any longer.
I don’t need to do this as often now since I’m used to eating this way and my body is adapted to burning fat for its fuel. It also helps that I keep my daily carbohydrates pretty low (< 75 grams/day) and am pretty active, exercising fairly intensely between 1-3 hours a day (lifting weights, HIIT, Jiu jitsu, etc.) along with walking a lot, most days.
I do still take MCT oil maybe 2-3 times a week and whenever I want to get the benefits of being deeper into nutritional ketosis.
When I Like To Take MCT Oil
I find it benefits me when I fasting, feeling low on energy but need to really sit and focus on work, like writing this article. They help keep my mind energized, on track and the task at hand. This often cuts the time it takes me to complete my work in half, which is nice.
Another time I take MCT oil during a fast is the morning after I happen to eat more carbohydrates than normal at the previous day’s meal. This doesn’t happen often but hey, I occasionally have pizza, a few cookies, etc.
A tablespoon of MCT oil in the morning helps get rid of any cravings I have the morning after a higher than normal carb meal. Give it a try yourself, even when you aren’t fasting and just eat a bit more carbs than normal and see what I mean.
How Much Should I Take?
When you’re first getting started, I don’t recommend taking more than 1 teaspoon of MCT oil at a time. It takes your body a little bit of time to get used to being able to assimilate MCTs and too much too soon and cause you to have an upset stomach.
Slowly increase your dosage by ½ – 1 teaspoon at a time until you can comfortably tak
e a full tablespoon.
If you want to try and get the normal tablespoon dosage in, you can also divide it into 3, 1 teaspoon size servings separated by an hour or so. Again see how you feel after each serving. If you don’t have an upset stomach an hour or so afterward, it’s probably okay to take another.
This article explains in greater detail how to avoid negative side effects from MCT oil.
Try It With Caffeine For Even Better Results
Another way to get a bigger boost from MCT oil when you’re fasting is to have a little caffeine from coffee, or another sugar-free source. Research shows that it also helps your body make more ketones, allowing you to see the benefits faster and for a longer period of time.
What About The Extra Calories?
Since they’re not digested like other fats or carbs and protein and you’re not taking in any other food during a fast, you don’t have to worry so much about the calories in MCT oil.
Now that doesn’t mean you should chug them down to your heart’s content. That will cause a problem, and can make you feel sick.
A tablespoon only has 130 calories so, even if you take 2 a day when you’re fasting it’s only 260 total calories, which are going to be used up quickly and not stored as excess body fat.
Which MCT Oil Is The Best?
The product I use is MCT Edge. Its quality and benefits I get from it, are second to none. Let me explain.
- First , it’s made in a GMP certified facility. This means that all you get is what’s on the label, pure MCTs.
- Second, we only use raw materials that are sourced from sustainably grown coconuts, a rich source of MCT oil. This means that the farms we’re using today will be around for a long time and that the environment they’re in is protected from long term damage.
Last but not least, MCT Edge contains the right types of medium chain triglycerides. You see, they’re not all created equal. Of the 4 types, only 2 are good at increasing ketones in your body. They’re called capric and caprylic acid. When you use MCT edge that’s all you get which is why you’ll actually be able to feel the ketones boosting benefits so quickly.
So, you now know that taking MCT oil will not break your fast. If you haven’t already, give it a try to see how it can make your fasts, whichever type you do, way more productive and beneficial.
D C Harvey, Cliff J et al. “The Effect of Medium Chain Triglycerides on Time to Nutritional Ketosis and Symptoms of Keto-Induction in Healthy Adults: A Randomised Controlled Clinical Trial.” Journal of nutrition and metabolism vol. 2018 2630565. 22 May. 2018.