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MCT Oil vs. MCT Oil Powder: How to Pick the Best Fat-Burning Supplement

By: Rebecca Paredes
December 3, 2018

MCT Oil vs. MCT Oil Powder: How to Pick the Best Fat-Burning Supplement

  • MCT oil can help you stay in ketosis by providing fat for fuel. MCT oil powder is convenient, but it’s not quite the same in terms of purity.
  • To get the best MCT oil powder, look for one that is 100% derived from coconuts, consists of C8 or C10 MCT oil, and isn’t mixed with any questionable additives or fillers.
  • Avoid MCT oil carrier powders like glucose and maltodextrin. Look for acacia gum and dextrin, which are great resistant starches.
  • Liquid MCT oil is best in terms of product purity, and you can easily find it in travel packs. But if you’re looking for convenience, it’s OK to use an MCT oil powder you trust.

Whether you blend it into your coffee or add it to your favorite salad dressing, MCT oil is a powerful supplement that can help you stay in ketosis by providing fat for fuel. But what about MCT oil powder?

Real talk: MCT oil isn’t the easiest thing to to transport, which can make it tough to supplement your low-carb, high-fat diet on the go. You know this is true if you’ve ever spilled MCT oil on your favorite shirt. (Here’s how to remove that stain like a pro.)

That’s what makes MCT oil powder so convenient. It’s light enough to throw into your gym bag and simple to mix into your favorite beverage without missing out on the satiating, ketone-generating benefits of MCTs. But how does MCT oil powder stack up against MCT oil?

The answer: It depends on the MCT oil powder you choose. Not all products are created equal, and some MCT oil powders might even kick you out of ketosis. Here’s what you should know when considering MCT oil powder vs. MCT oil.

First, a quick primer on MCTs

Closeup of molecules

If you’re following a low-carb, high-fat diet like the ketogenic diet or the Bulletproof Diet, supplementing your diet with medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs, from coconut oil, ensures you’re getting enough fat to stay in ketosis. (That’s the state in which your body burns fat, rather than carbohydrates, for fuel.)

But that’s not the only reason people use MCT oil. If you’re new to ketogenic supplements, read more about how MCT oil works here.

The key thing to know is that your body processes certain MCTs differently than other fats. Caproic acid (also called C6), caprylic acid (C8), and capric acid (C10) go directly to your liver, where they’re converted into ketones — the fuel source your body produces when it burns fat for fuel.

Ketones are awesome. They increase energy, metabolism, satiety, and brain function, and they’ve been shown to help curb food cravings, which makes it easier to stabilize your blood sugar and stay in ketosis.[1] [2] [3] [4]

So, MCT oil supplements are an easy way to add more ketones to your diet. But in terms of MCT oil powder vs. MCT oil, which supplement reigns supreme?

The difference between MCT oil powder and MCT oil

Powder over black background

With MCT oil, what you see is what you get. It doesn’t require a carrier oil or extra additives. For instance, Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil is 100% triple-distilled C8 MCT oil. It’s expeller-pressed, not mixed with any unnecessary chemicals, and sourced completely from coconuts.

MCT oil powder is a little different. It’s produced via a process called spray drying. MCT oil is sprayed onto a carrier material, which forms a powder. This process introduces two important variables into the equation when you’re considering MCT oil powders: What type of MCT oil did the manufacturer use, and what is the carrier?

What to look for with MCT oil powder

Powders on table

When you’re considering different MCT oil powders, keep these factors in mind:

  • What type of MCT oil are you getting? C8 is the best MCT oil because your body most easily converts it into ketones. C10 is a close runner-up. C6 is also good, but it tastes terrible. The manufacturer should clearly disclose what type of MCT you’re getting in your powder. Learn more about the types of MCT oils here.
  • What is the carrier powder? Some carrier powders will actually kick you out of ketosis because they spike your insulin levels, which defeats the whole purpose of using an MCT oil supplement. If you see maltodextrin or glucose on the ingredients list, just say no.
  • What is the source of the MCT oil? MCT oil is also found in palm oil, but the palm oil industry is problematic, to say the least. Make the planet-friendly choice by buying MCT oil sustainably sourced from coconuts.
  • What are the other ingredients? The ingredients list on your MCT oil powder shouldn’t be a mile long. If it’s flavored, make sure the manufacturers aren’t sneaking in artificial sweeteners that will wreck your gut. Check out this list of gut-friendly sweeteners that won’t kick you out of ketosis.
  • How much fat do I get? Because each serving also contains a carrier powder, you might not consume as much fat as you would if you used liquid MCT oil alone. Look for a powder that clearly lists how much MCT oil you get per serving. As an example, Bulletproof InstaMix clearly states that each packet contains 2 teaspoons grass-fed butter and 2 teaspoons Brain Octane Oil.

Another note on carrier powders: Acacia gum and resistant dextrin are great carriers because they’re actually good for your gut.[5] [6] Dextrin, the carrier powder used in InstaMix, is a resistant starch. Although it’s technically a carb, resistant starch isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it functions as a prebiotic, which feeds your good gut bacteria.

Pros and cons of MCT oil powder vs. MCT oil

MCT oil powder

MCT oil powder in shaker cup

Pros:

  • Convenient to travel with
  • Easily mixes into drinks
  • Virtually tasteless
  • Gives hot drinks a creamy texture

Cons:

  • More processed than MCT oil
  • Fat content may vary
  • Must be paired with a carrier powder that could throw you out of ketosis
  • Requires a closer look at ingredients list

MCT oil

MCT oil pour

Pros:

  • Available as a pure oil without additives or fillers
  • Simple to drizzle over foods like salad and sushi
  • Flavorless

Cons:

  • Must be blended or shaken with hot drinks
  • Difficult to carry
  • Difficult to portion, unless you use single-serve packs

When considering MCT oil powder vs. MCT oil, it boils down to convenience. The purity of MCT oil in liquid form can’t be beat, and when you use single-serve packs or travel bottles, you can easily take it with you on the go. If you’re away from your blender, you can drizzle MCT oil on food or shake it up with water during a workout — or take a cue from Bulletproof Founder Dave Asprey and bring a bottle of Brain Octane Oil with you to sushi restaurants.

However, if you don’t want to tote around oil in your gym bag or purse, there’s nothing wrong with backup MCT oil powder. Just make sure you’re purchasing a product that is sustainably sourced from coconuts, consists of C8 or C10 MCT oil, and isn’t mixed with questionable fillers or insulin-spiking carrier powders that could wreck your ketosis.

Or just bring along an InstaMix packet. It’s way more convenient, and you know exactly what you’re getting with each serving: powerful C8 MCT oil, grass-fed butter, and good-for-your-gut resistant starch that won’t drag you down. Easy peasy. Bring on the ketones.

Buy now: Bulletproof InstaMix

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