Don’t confuse coconut oil with MCT oil
Coconut oil is the keto dieters favorite because they often use it to energize their low-carb bodies and ease their mystical transition into ketosis … or so they think.
Many keto dieters have found that coconut oil is synonymous, or practically synonymous, with the fatty acids known as medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs.
MCTs are cool because, unlike long chain triglycerides (LCT), they skip an important biochemical step and are transported directly into the portal vein and transported to the liver, where they provide energy quickly.
MCTs also enter the mitochondria independently and are converted into two ketone bodies, which are then further metabolized to produce CO2, water, and energy instead of being deposited as fat. It̵
Compare that to LCTs. They combine with proteins to form chylomicrons, which enter the blood via the lymphatic system and mostly bypass the liver. Unfortunately, since these lipoproteins circulate in the body, they deposit fatty acids in the tissues and thus contribute to your porkiness. To make matters worse, some of these fatty acids are spackled onto artery walls.
It gets difficult here
Coconut oil contains three fatty acids that are usually considered MCTs: caprylic acid, capric acid, and the most common and mythological, lauric acid.
Depending on who you’re talking to, between 15% and 55% of the oils in coconut oil are MCTs. However, let’s be generous and assume the number is 50%. Large but lauric acid, the predominant “MCT” in coconut oil, is metabolized more like a long chain fatty acid, thus challenging the MCT magic of coconut oil.
Between 70 and 75% of lauric acid is absorbed and transported by the same chylomicrons associated with LCTs, and they run around the body, beating fatty acids against your blood vessel walls and fat cells.
That said, if you’re lucky, only about a third of the fatty acids in coconut oil like MCTs are absorbed, and not stored as fat or messed up your cardiovascular system.
None of the research into the purported benefits of MCTs can be applied to coconut oil as it is made up of a wide variety of short, medium, and long chain fatty acids.
Related: What You Did Not Know About Coconut Oil
Related: 5 Reasons Lifters Need Olive Oil