MCT Oil Vs. Coconut Oil: Which Is Better?

MCT Oil Vs. Coconut Oil Which Is Better

People on diets, especially keto diets, often wonder about the effectiveness of two different types of oils- MCT oil and coconut oil. Even though the major characteristics of both are same, they differ significantly in terms of benefits and uses.

If you are also confused between the two, the article will compare MCT oil vs. coconut oil to give a detailed information about them.

Keep reading!

What’s the Difference between MCT Oil and Coconut Oil

What is MCT Oil?


Before learning about MCT oil, it is imperative to know what MCT is.

MCTs are Medium Chain Triglycerides. They are a type of saturated fat, present in different types of food such as milk products, palm kernel oil, etc.

Triglycerides, as the name indicates, contains 3 fatty acids (carbon atoms linked through chains) and a glycerol molecule. The length of chains varies, depending upon the number of carbon atoms linked. While most of the triglycerides are long chain fatty acids with more than 12 carbon atoms, MCT is a medium chain, comprising 6 to 12 carbon atoms (1).

The lesser number of cardon atoms make MCTs one of the kinds. Unlike other glycerides, they are easy to digest and don’t require bile acid or enzymes for digestion (2). Due to this property, MCT makes its way straight to the liver and gets digested and absorbed instantly, giving immediate energy.

At the same time, since MCTs get digested easily, they are highly unlikely to store fat. Thus, it is suitable for weight loss.

The four types of MCTs are-

  • Caproic acid
  • Caprylic acid
  • Capric acid
  • Lauric acid

MCT oils contain medium-chain triglycerides in highly concentrated form. Raw palm oil or coconut oil is refined to remove other concentrates and produce 100% pure MCT oil.

Even though extracted from coconut oil, MCT oil differs in its properties.

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut Oil

It is extracted from the meat, kernel, and copra of the coconut. It contains different MCTs in different concentrations (3) as follows-

  • 42% lauric acid
  • 7% caprylic acid
  • 5% capric acid

Beside MCTs, Coconut oil also contains LCTs (long-chain triglycerides) as well as unsaturated fats (4). Even though coconut oil contains a good amount of lauric acid, it is not considered an MCT-rich oil because lauric acid is not as easily digested as other MCTs. This is the reason why many scholars do not believe lauric acid is a true MCT.

Below is the table comparing MCT oil vs. coconut oil under different heads for better understating-

FeatureMCT OilCoconut Oil
SourceDerived from medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut oil, palm kernel oil, or other oilsExtracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts
CompositionConsists of medium-chain fatty acids (C6-C12), predominantly C8 (caprylic acid) and C10 (capric acid)Contains a mix of medium-chain, long-chain, and saturated fatty acids
DigestibilityEasily digestible due to shorter chain lengthTakes longer to digest due to longer chain length
Energy SourceQuickly metabolized for energy productionProvides sustained energy due to slower metabolism
Ketone ProductionEfficiently converted into ketones by the liverLess efficient at producing ketones compared to MCT oil
FlavorTypically odorless and tastelessHas a distinct coconut flavor and aroma
Shelf StabilityHighly stable and resistant to rancidityRelatively stable but may degrade over time, especially when exposed to light and heat
CookingSuitable for cooking at high temperaturesSuitable for cooking at low to medium temperatures, may not be suitable for high-heat cooking
Health BenefitsMay support weight management, cognitive function, and energy levelsContains beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants, and may have antimicrobial properties
Weight ManagementOften used in ketogenic diets for weight lossContains calories and should be consumed in moderation for weight management
Skin and Hair CareCan be used in skincare and haircare productsCommonly used as a natural moisturizer and hair conditioner
PriceGenerally more expensive compared to coconut oilUsually more affordable

MCT oil vs Coconut oil- What’s better for weight loss?

If you are following a keto diet for weight management, MCT oil will be more beneficial. As the keto diet allows the body to burn fat instead of glucose for fuel, MCT oils help in giving an instant boost of energy.

MCT oil contains MCT in its pure form while coconut oil contains MCT, LCT as well as saturated fats. Thus, the former is more beneficial for weight loss. At the same time, MCT oil boosts metabolism and makes you feel full for longer hours.

MCT oil vs Coconut oil- What’s Better For Cooking?

Undoubtedly, coconut oil scores more marks when it comes to cooking. From stir frying to pan frying, coconut oil is more useful due to its high smoke point (temperature at which fat starts oxidizing and not affecting oil’s taste and nutritional profile).

MCT oil vs Coconut oil- What’s Better for Skincare?

Lauric acid, one of the major contents of coconut oil, is highly beneficial for skincare. It is because of the following-

  • It is antibacterial and thus treats acne
  • Improves symptoms of eczema
  • Hydrates skin
  • Improves dry and flaky skin


While both MCT oil and coconut oil are beneficial, they are intended to give different results. MCT oil is more effective for weight management and energy production, whereas coconut oil is all about cooking and beauty and skincare.

So, what your goal determines what oil will be more beneficial for you. So, make your choice mindfully and reap maximum benefits.

Image Source : canva

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