This NativePath content is medically reviewed or fact-checked to ensure factually accurate information.
With strict editorial sourcing guidelines, we only link to academic research institutions, reputable media sites, and, when research is available, medically peer-reviewed studies. Note that the numbers in parentheses (1, 2, etc.) are clickable links to these studies.
The information in our articles is NOT intended to replace that of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice.
Updated April 12, 2022
Can MCT Powder Help You Lose Weight? 6 Ways MCTs Keep Your Metabolism In Check
MCTs are a type of fatty acid known as medium-chain triglycerides. While long-chain triglycerides are much more abundant in our food supply, MCTs can be found in foods like coconut oil, palm oil, and some dairy products.
The primary difference between medium-chain fatty acids and long-chain fatty acids is how they’re absorbed and utilized by your body.
While long-chain fatty acids have to take a trip through your lymphatic system before arriving at your liver to be converted to fuel or stored energy, MCTs get to skip the lymph and go straight to your liver. Here, they’re readily broken down and converted to fuel that you can use immediately (1).
Aside from their rapid absorption and breakdown, MCTs also provide several other benefits that can have a profound impact on your health. Research shows that metabolic health, in particular, is one area in which MCTs shine.
So, if you’re one who’s interested in safe, easy weight loss, lean in close…
Because MCTs may just be the solution you’ve been looking for.
MCTs For Metabolic Health
One of the most challenging health conditions we face in the United States is metabolic syndrome. It’s estimated to affect around 25-35% of the population (2).
Metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of conditions, including (3):
- Belly fat
- High blood pressure (i.e. hypertension)
- High blood sugar (i.e. insulin resistance)
- High triglycerides
- Irregular blood lipids such as low HDL cholesterol
Each of these factors can be dangerous on its own, but when clustered together, they can significantly increase your risk for diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
While unhealthy eating habits and a sedentary routine can be contributing factors to metabolic syndrome, you have the power to flip those factors in your favor….
By upgrading your diet, exercising regularly, and supplementing with MCT powder.
MCTs, in particular, have a powerful influence on your metabolic health…
6 Ways MCTs Make Weight Loss Easier
There are 6 science-backed ways that MCTs can enhance metabolic health and help you maintain your weight…
1. MCTs Regulate Your Blood Sugar
Maintaining a stable blood sugar level is important for keeping your cravings at bay and your energy levels even.
If you’re living with diabetes, however, your blood sugar level is even more important.
One of the primary complications associated with diabetes is insulin resistance. Insulin is the hormone that's responsible for shuttling blood sugar into your cells to be used as energy or stored. When your cells become resistant to insulin, they can no longer respond to its signals—resulting in elevated blood sugar.
Research shows that including MCTs in your diet can improve insulin sensitivity and help your body metabolize glucose. While most research has been conducted on subjects with diabetes, this benefit seems to carry over even to people who are not diabetic (4, 5, 6)!
2. MCTs Ramp Up Your Metabolic Rate
Your metabolic rate is the rate at which you burn energy, which most of us think of as burning calories.
Everyone’s metabolic rate is different. Yours may depend on your age, sex, exercise habits, and physical makeup. For example, when a body gains more muscle mass, its metabolic rate increases because muscle demands more energy than fat tissue does.
A high metabolic rate—what we often praise as a fast metabolism—is optimal for burning calories and losing weight.
Don’t have a high metabolism? Don’t worry…
Research shows that MCTs can increase your daily calorie burn by increasing your metabolic rate. The best part? This amped-up burn appears to come from stored fat in the body (7, 8). Say goodbye to unwanted belly fat and hello to extra energy.
If you’re wondering how MCTs do this, here’s your answer…
Studies indicate that one of the ways MCTs help speed up your metabolism is by increasing the number of mitochondria in your skeletal muscles (muscles that make up 30 to 40% of your total body mass).
Muscle is a very energy-hungry tissue, and mitochondria are little energy powerhouses that live in your cells. Thus, MCT’s ability to enhance those tiny powerhouses across the body may be one of the keys to its metabolism-boosting magic (9).
Another potential reason for MCT’s calorie-burning effect is its ability to activate your sympathetic nervous system (10). The sympathetic nervous system is famous for its association with fight-or-flight responses, but this system also plays a role in your energy state, metabolism, and food intake.
3. MCTs Amplify Your Workouts
When you take MCTs, your body has more energy to expend—and that means your next workout will be a chart-topper.
Thanks to MCTs boosting your mitochondrial function, your muscles have access to more energy, and they can tap into that energy faster. The result is increased endurance and overall exercise performance that will have you thriving at the gym, on the tennis court, or on your morning walk (11, 9).
MCT may even help improve your post-workout recovery time…
When your body follows its usual routine of breaking down glucose for energy during exercise, it can create lactic acid buildup. Meaning: Your muscles will feel sore and weak. Since MCTs help your body target fat as its fuel source instead of glucose, you’ll bypass the lactic acid buildup and speed up your recovery (11).
4. MCTs Keep Your Cholesterol In Check
While more research is needed, early studies on animal models indicate that MCTs may positively impact your cholesterol levels.
In a study conducted on mice, researchers found that MCTs reduced the reabsorption of bile acids in the small intestine. This is significant since cholesterol is one of the primary components of bile acid.
Typically, bile acids either leave the body or are reabsorbed in the small intestine to be recycled. By blocking some of the reabsorption, MCTs help excess cholesterol leave the body (12).
In another study, researchers gave a group of overweight participants a mixture of MCT oil, phytosterols, and flaxseed oil for 29 days. A second group received a placebo. The researchers found that after the trial, the MCT group showed a drop in LDL cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) by nearly 14%. While this study doesn’t account for the confounding factors of phytosterols and flaxseed oil, it offers an exciting step for future research (16).
5. MCTs Help Kick Cravings
Few things will throw off well-intentioned weight loss plans faster than snack cravings.
We’ve all been there.
While it would be great if our snack cravings leaned toward the fresh veggie variety, the reality is that when in snacking mode, most of us crave unhealthy treats.
When you consume MCTs, they produce ketones, which are immediate sources of energy. Ketones have a different effect than the body’s other energy sources, like glucose (13).
One of the benefits of ketones is that they have a filling (satiating) effect because of their influence on two hormones: Cholecystokinin and ghrelin.
Ghrelin is known as your “hunger hormone,” as it stimulates the desire to eat. Research shows that ketones suppress ghrelin, and as a result, curb perceived hunger (14).
Cholecystokinin is a hormone that makes you feel full. When you have ketones in your blood, your body has an easier time sustaining levels of cholecystokinin, which translates to you feeling full (15).
6. MCTs Boost Weight Loss
Since you already know that MCTs make an impact on your metabolic rate, hunger, exercise endurance, and blood sugar, it’s probably no surprise to mention that MCTs can help you hit your weight loss goals too.
Long-term clinical trials show that MCTs result in less body fat accumulation over time, which can likely be attributed to MCT’s other adjacent health perks (1).
With so many powerful health benefits packed into one little scoop, safe weight loss is the cherry on top.
The Bottom Line
If you’re aiming for a high metabolism and maintained weight, MCTs are a fantastic addition to your daily routine.
And they benefit more than just your waistline: Metabolic health plays a key role in the prevention of some of the most pervasive diseases in the United States, including cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes.
The easiest way to add more MCTs into your life is in powder form, like with our NativePath MCT Powder. You can add MCTs to your morning coffee or tea, mix them into water, or add them to smoothies—whatever works for you. Before you know it, you’ll be on the fast track to a faster metabolism and vibrant new energy.
Wondering what other ways you can get your MCTs in each day? Check out our most popular supplements below...
As a doctor of Physical Therapy, Senior Wellness Expert, and co-founder of NativePath, Dr. Walding has helped millions of people improve their quality of life from the inside out—by speaking, writing, and educating others on how to live life a little more #OnThePath.
This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.