If you are a vegan looking to improve the nutrition of your diet, subscribe to the keto plan, or simply are interested in adding health benefits to your food without altering the flavor, you might be looking for ways to implement more medium-chain triglycerides, or MCT, in your food. You might also be wondering if it is possible to cook using oils specifically designed for adding MCT to your diet.
Well, the answer is that it is very much possible to use MCT oil in your cooking so you can enjoy the health benefits associated with the product without affecting the taste of your meal. With this article, we hope to help you figure out the best way to implement MCT oil in your regular diet.
What is MCT?
Medium-chain triglycerides, colloquially referred to as MCT, are triglycerides with two or three fatty acids with anywhere between six to twelve carbon atoms. MCT is a naturally occurring substance in many foods, and the extraction and refinement of MCTs are usually derived from coconut or palm kernel oil.
The benefit of MCT is that the molecules it is comprised of are smaller than the long-chain triglycerides (LCT) found in most proteins. Because of these smaller molecules, MCT is easier to digest, allowing it to provide your body with energy at a faster rate than you would ordinarily receive. Using fractionation, MCT oil can be produced from products that naturally provide MCT and refined into an independent product.
The benefits associated with MCT are still being studied as they remain unconfirmed scientifically but are showing clear trends towards being a useful supplement. The uses of MCT have seen expansion into several fields:
- Dietary: One of the biggest and most cited benefits associated with MCT supplements is their use in weight regulation. Studies have found that MCT can help with burning excess calories as well as increasing fat oxidation. Several athletes have claimed that increased MCT consumption promotes longer and more effective workouts, though the science behind this claim is inconclusive. The reality is that MCT oil can help reduce lactic acid levels in the body and allow you to burn fat more quickly while exercising.
- Energy: MCT oil has been found to help revitalize and energize people who increase their consumption of the substance. This is because of MCT’s ability to be converted into ketones. Ketones are produced from fat being broken down in the body and serve as rapid-access energy for the body. As a result, MCT helps the body more rapidly energize as the supplements are consumed and digested.
- Medical: MCT oil has seen use in medical treatment for conditions such as malnutrition and malabsorption to help patients regain their energy. In fact, MCT supplements have become a primary component in the treatment of Waldmann disease, a condition that negatively impacts the body’s lymph vessels.
MCT oil has become a beloved supplement for anyone looking to increase their energy intake with minimal impact on their dietary habits. This has led many to seek ways to use it in their cooking, especially given its benefits for low-protein lifestyles such as veganism. Today, however, we are here to determine if and how MCT oil can be used to cook a meal.
If you are looking to get some MCT oil for yourself, you can purchase a bottle of it right here on our website.
Can You Cook with MCT Oil?
You might be wondering to yourself, “is MCT oil like other cooking oils?” The answer to that question is a resounding “yes!” and “no.” In truth, the situation is complicated.
MCT oil can be used as cooking oil to embed the health benefits into your meals and maximize the effects of those benefits. However, unlike other cooking oils, MCT oil has an exceedingly difficult smoke point to manage. A smoke point is a temperature at which any substance stops cooking and instead starts burning.
Every fat or oil you cook with has a temperature at which this smoke point comes into play, and MCT oil is no different. For MCT oil, the smoke point means you cannot cook it at any temperature above 320° Fahrenheit. In the world of cooking, 320° is a notably low smoke point and can be extremely difficult to regulate. This restriction makes MCT oil prohibitive to those without a moderate understanding of how to conduct themselves in the kitchen. If you do cook MCT oil at a temperature over 320°, you risk burning the oil’s fats and therefore reducing the benefits it offers.
With that in mind, there are good reasons for incorporating MCT oil into your recipes beyond just the health. MCT oil is an excellent choice to cook with because it is an entirely flavorless, neutral oil. Due to this, MCT oil can be seamlessly added to any meal without negatively impacting the taste in the slightest way. This will allow you to enjoy your favorite dishes with their full flavor while also packing the nutritional and health benefits the MCT oil is known and used for.
Another advantage MCT oil has is that it does not change into a solid when left in a room-temperature environment, unlike other common oils in the kitchen. While this might seem unimportant, it is a great convenience. When oil turns from a liquid to a solid, the chef is forced to melt it back into a liquid to use for their recipe. Since MCT oil does not go through this transformation, you save the time you would have otherwise spent returning it to its oil form.
The last advantage MCT oil has is that it can be easily paired with other supplements for protein without one interfering with the other. This allows you to be creative with your recipes while also taking any other supplements you might use regularly. This makes MCT oil one of the most versatile supplements in circulation today.
However, it is all well and good to know that you can cook with MCT oil, but the question remains of what you can cook. While MCT oil’s lack of taste makes it versatile enough to be applied to any recipe you need oil for, a few examples never hurt anyone.
Recipe #1: Chicken Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
If you enjoy your meat and want to supplement the nutritional value with MCT oil’s rapid energy building, this recipe might serve as an excellent decision for your next dinner. Coming to us from the health blog site Oh Sweet Mercy, this recipe combines sweet and savory in a recipe that can incorporate MCT oil. The ingredients you will need are as follows:
- 3x boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 8 oz. can tomato sauce
- ½ cup salsa
- 2 tsp. taco seasoning
- Salt (To taste)
- Pepper (To taste)
- 1 medium sweet potato
- ½-1 tsp. chili powder
- ½-1 tsp. MCT oil
- Fresh, snipped chives
- Fresh cilantro
- 0% Greek yogurt or sour cream
- Hot sauce
You can substitute a batch of 30-minute instant pot chicken tacos to take over for the stove-cooked chicken taco filling in a pinch. To cook the recipe properly, follow these instructions:
- Scrub the outside of the sweet potato and prick it with a fork across the surface.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and then bake the potato for 45 minutes.
- Combine the chicken taco ingredients in a saucepan and cook it over medium-high heat until the chicken is fully cooked and easily shredded.
- Use a hand mixer or two forks to quickly shred the chicken.
- Once everything is cooked, cut a slit in the potato lengthwise.
- Use a fork to mash and fluff the sweet potato before adding the chili powder and MCT oil until they are combined.
- Top as desired, and enjoy your MCT oil-packed meal.
As with all the recipes we will be listing, the MCT oil is a strictly optional part of the meal but can be added to the sweet potato to maximize the benefits the meal offers. This recipe is not as difficult to make with the MCT oil since it is added to an already cooked potato but is still worth noting as a beginning recipe.
Recipe #2: Banana Bread
A much-beloved treat, banana bread is a tasty dessert and treat that can be enjoyed at any time but is not really known for being an overly healthy addition to your diet. However, even your treats can incorporate MCT oil to ensure that you at least get some health benefits out of a snack that might be ill-advised if you are looking to avoid sugar. The ingredients you will need for this recipe are:
- 4 overripe bananas
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ cup almond butter
- 4 tbsp. MCT oil
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- Optional toppings such as nuts and/or chocolate chips
After you have gathered your ingredients, all that is left is to bring them all together. To bake your banana bread, you will need to follow these instructions:
- Preheat the oven to 320° Fahrenheit.
- Mix the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
- Peel the bananas and mash them in a bowl.
- Break and beat the eggs and then add them into the bowl alongside the almond butter, MCT oil, and vanilla extract and mix them together.
- Add the coconut flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt mix into the mash until fully mixed.
- Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin.
- Add any toppings you want into the batter.
- Bake the batter for 30 minutes and allow to cool before slicing.
Banana bread can be difficult to make if you do not have a lot of experience cooking and baking, but learning allows you to make a delicious treat packed with the benefits of MCT oil to boot. With this recipe, you make a dessert you can enjoy in the comfort of your home or take with you when you leave the house to reap the benefits of the MCT oil on the go. With the bonus that banana bread is one of those ambiguous foods that you can have at any time of the day.
These are just a couple of example recipes to show you how MCT oil can be added to nearly anything. Because of its neutral nature, it’s a great addition to any recipe that calls for protein or oil.
The (Boiling) Point
MCT oil is a supplement that has an excellent track record and a list of benefits to your health that comes as a natural alternative to many other processed supplements you might find at the health section of your local Walmart. MCT oil is derived from some of the most used oils there are, including coconut and palm kernel oil, so the base components of the oil are already there if you use either of those to cook already.
If you are dealing with low energy or are simply trying to better regulate your weight, MCT oil can be an excellent supplement to help with either issue. The molecular size of MCT means the body can more easily and more rapidly access the energy reserves the oil provides and keep you going a little more effectively. MCT’s use in oxidation allows your body to better metabolize and regulate the fat you build up and help you slim down more easily. This is not to say that MCT oil is a quick fix for any weight issues you might be experiencing, but rather a way to help the measures you are taking be more effective.
Moreover, MCT oil can be used in any number of recipes, being added to anything and everything you could conceive of. It can even substitute for everyday use oils like vegetable oil in recipes where MCT might not have ever crossed your mind.
Have you ever used MCT oil in your meals? If so, what did you cook? What were your thoughts on using it? If you haven’t used MCT oil before, would you consider using it now? Be sure to leave us your stories and thoughts in the comments section below! We’d love to hear all of them!