Coconut Oil vs MCT Oil

When writing about my fat fast, I mentioned that one positive about coconut oil is that it contains a lot of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). These are fatty acids that can be used for energy very quickly by the body in contrast to long chain triglycerides which need to be broken down by the liver. MCT can be transformed into ketones which is obviously popular to many paleos.

The consumption of coconut oil has exploded in recent years, and, as a result, MCT oil has grown in popularity as well. Since coconut oil is only about 60% MCT, some entrepreneurs are selling pure MCT by separating it from coconut oil or palm kernel oil.

I’m not going to delve into the health benefit debate between MCT v coconut oil. Suffice to say, there is a growing niche market in MCT, and its advocates argue that for optimal ketosis, it’s the right stuff to take. The process of separating MCT from coconut or palm looks safe too.

I’m more interested today in the price of these oils. Remember that coconut oil is about 60% MCT. All prices are in pounds sterling (i.e., British pounds).

The price for 1L of extra virgin organic coconut oil ranges from £6.66 to £16.00. The average price is around £9.00.

MCT oil, in contrast, ranges from a low of £16 per litre up to £35. Most of the oils are closer to the higher end. The average price is around £28.

Typically I eat a tablespoon of coconut oil a day on average. Some days I skip, others I may double up. The directions for MCT oil call for one tablespoon servings. So broadly speaking, one would take about the same amount of either oil per day.

Conclusions

For me the significantly higher price of MCT oil outweighs any possible health superiority over coconut oil. Even if I decided to double my coconut oil intake, it would still be significantly cheaper.

I’m sure there are people out there that will disagree with me and please point me in the direction of research papers that tell me I’m wrong, but I just don’t see the health benefits of MCT being hugely superior to coconut oil.

Ultimately, MCT is just too expensive.

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