MCT Oil In Coffee 2023: Health Benefits, Side Effects & More

By
Reviewed by Brittany, F., PhD

We believe that information about products and services that can benefit people should be made available to consumers so that they can make informed decisions about their healthcare. That’s why we strive to provide accurate and reliable information by working with a number of fact-checkers who review articles for factual accuracy, relevance and timeliness. A team of qualified and experienced fact-checkers rigorously review our content before it is published on our website. At MIDSS, we rely on the most recent and reliable sources, which are cited in the text and listed at the end of each article. Content is checked after editing and before publication.

MCT Oil In Coffee

The benefits of MCT oil are numerous, ranging from gastrointestinal health to metabolic health, to better heart and brain function. It is a staple of the ketogenic diet, which emphasizes high-fat and low-carb. MCT oil is generally well tolerated and absorbed because it’s a medium-chain triglyceride (fat), as opposed to a long-chain triglyceride (LCT). Among its many health offerings, increased satiety and weight loss are proven benefits of adding it to your diet. MCT oil is a supplement and should be taken in small doses to assess tolerance before increasing the amount. Additionally, it should be taken under the advice of a healthcare provider, to ensure it would not create adverse reactions.

What Is MCT Oil?

MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil is a supplement (usually extracted from coconut or palm kernel) that can be a healthier and more accessible alternative to most other LCT fats (long-chain triglycerides). Those who have a hard time absorbing LCTs and using them in the body correctly may have an easier time with MCT oil because it’s easier to digest and gets into the bloodstream faster than other fats. The liver can access it right away, instead of storing it as fat, making it a great asset to a weight-loss diet.

benefits of mct oil in coffee

Benefits Of MCT Oil

Many benefits can be had from incorporating MCT oil into the diet, particularly for individuals with digestive issues[1]. Fat is an essential nutrient on its own, but also provides necessary assistance with other nutrient absorption (for example, nutrients from vegetables are better absorbed if eaten with fat). However, for people with digestive issues that cannot tolerate some fats, MCT oil may be easier to tolerate. This includes people with stomach, pancreas, or bowel problems. Studies show that MCT oil may also be beneficial for treating neurological conditions like seizures, epilepsy, and autism. It has also been used to promote weight loss[2], help reduce heart problems, manage blood sugar and diabetes, and increase cognition and energy. 

Why Put MCT Oil In Coffee?

Coffee is a stimulant that provides energy, and adding MCT oil to coffee gives it another dose of energy, making it an ideal “elixir” in the morning. MCT oil also boosts cognition – another reason to drink it at the start of your day. Additionally, adding any fat to coffee, including MCT oil, increases satiety, which prevents overeating as the day goes on. For people following a ketogenic (keto) diet, it’s important to have a high amount of fat, yet significantly fewer carbs. Coffee alone contains no carbs, but no fat either. This makes coffee with MCT oil in it an ideal keto drink which stays within these guidelines and helps the body stay in ketosis. 

How Much MCT Oil In Coffee?

The general recommended amount of MCT oil to put in a cup of coffee is 1-2 tablespoons. However, for those just starting out, it’s best to go low and slow. Start with just one teaspoon and see how you tolerate it. After a few days, increase to one tablespoon. Continue for a few days before increasing again to two tablespoons. Your unique health needs may require a little more or less, so always consult with your doctor and listen to your body.

How To Make Bulletproof Coffee

benefits of mct oil in coffee

Bulletproof coffee is a latte-like drink which combines high-quality coffee, unsalted butter (or ghee) and MCT oil. When blended together, it has a creamy texture and is usually drunk warm. Bulletproof coffee should stay within keto limitations – it should have no (or very little) sugar and few carbohydrates (so if you’re going to add sweetener, choose a low-carb one, such as Stevia and if you’re going to add a little milk, be mindful of how many carbs the milk contains).

Bulletproof coffee is easy to make[3]. You just need a coffee maker and a blender. First brew your coffee (using pre-ground or grinding your own beans are both fine). Once the coffee is brewed, pour 8-12 ounces into a blender, then add 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil. The last ingredient is 1-2 tablespoons of unsalted butter, which you can swap out for ghee (clarified butter). Blend until creamy and serve warm.

Other MCT Oil Recipe

There are many ways to incorporate MCT oil into your diet aside from adding it to coffee. The oil is just as easily added to smoothies, which can make for more balanced and filling smoothies than ones that contain only fruit. It can be used to make oil-based salad dressings, dips like hummus or guacamole, or it can be used in place of other oils (however, MCT oil has a low burning point, so if using for cooking, only cook on low heat – no deep frying). You may even consider mixing it in with nut butter. 

Any number of dishes[4] can be made with MCT oil, including desserts, main entrees, and snacks. If you want to stick with breakfast as the time to enjoy it, try this gluten-free oatmeal recipe[5] from Just Take A Bite:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. MCT oil (start with 1 tsp. and work up to 1 Tbsp.)
  • 2 Tbsp. brown rice puffs or rolled oats (optional)
  • 1 banana sliced
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut chips
  • dried or fresh fruit of choice (optional)

Instructions

  • Combine the chia and hemp seeds, MCT oil, yogurt or milk, and oats or puffs.
  • Allow to sit for 5 – 10 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Add banana, coconut chips and fruit, then serve.

Or, for a keto-friendly dinner recipe, try this slow cooked pot roast[6] from Bulletproof:

Ingredients

  • 1 lb grass-fed sirloin tip steak
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp MCT oil
  • 3 tbsp grass-fed unsalted butter
  • 1.5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Coat the steak with salt, turmeric, and oregano.
  • Place the steak in a slow cooker and pour in the MCT oil.
  • Add butter and cook on low for 6-6 hours or until the meat is shreddable.
  • Shred with a fork and add the vinegar.

Potential Side Effects Of MCT Oil In Coffee

While MCT oil has many health benefits, it may not agree with everyone, and there can be some unwanted side effects[7], such as bloating, diarrhea, stomach pain, and nausea. These symptoms may be exacerbated by coffee, since coffee is a stimulant and can initiate gastrointestinal movement. For this reason, it’s always best to consult a healthcare provider before starting it, and take smaller than the recommended dose at first, then slowly work your way up.

If you have an allergy to coconut or palm, MCT oil should be avoided completely, since the oil is extracted from these foods. If you are allergic to MCT oil and ingest it, you may experience hives, rashes, itchiness, dizziness, stomach discomfort and any other allergic type of reaction.

Should You Put MCT Oil In Coffee

Many people tolerate MCT oil well and add it to coffee as their primary way to ingest it. However, if you’re not a coffee drinker, there are many other beverages, dips, and dishes you can add MCT oil to as well.

Because MCT oil is a supplement, there may be some contraindications for certain individuals. Pregnant and lactating women[8] are encouraged to avoid it because the risks have not been well-studied. Those with uncontrolled diabetes should also avoid it, because the oil can worsen the condition. Also, people with certain liver diseases shouldn’t take MCT oil because the liver is needed to metabolize the oil and may not be able to properly. Those who are allergic to MCT oil (coconut or palm) should also not take it.

Conclusion

MCT oil is a supplement made from either coconut or palm kernel. It is a medium-chain triglyceride, which makes the oil easier to digest and easier to assimilate than other fats that are long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). Many individuals find MCT oil a nice alternative to LCTs and choose to add it to their coffee to make “bulletproof coffee.” MCT oil can also be added to smoothies and other meal preparations. MCT oil has a number of health benefits and aligns with the restrictions of the keto diet, however, as with all supplements, MCT oil is not advisable for everyone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone take MCT oil?

No. Though MCT oil is generally healthy, it may not be suitable for individuals with uncontrolled diabetes, liver disease, or pregnant women. Additionally, everyone’s tolerance will vary, so if your doctor says it’s safe to try it, start with just one teaspoon a day and work up slowly to two tablespoons. and fat.

What’s the best food or drink to add MCT oil to?

You can add MCT oil to any food or drink, however many people add it to their morning coffee to make “bulletproof coffee” (a creamy latte-like drink). Remember that MCT oil has a low burning point, so when adding it while cooking, make sure not to cook on a high flame.

Is MCT oil keto-friendly? 

Yes! Keto diets prioritize high-fat and low-carb, and MCT oil is high in fat. Just be sure that whatever you add it to is not too high in carbs. MCT oil is also vegan and gluten-free.

+ 8 sources

MIDSS has strict procurement guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutes and medical associations. We work primarily with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accuracy. We avoid using tertiary references. For more information on how we ensure the accuracy and timeliness of our content, please see our editorial policy.

  1. Wiginton, K. (2019). MCT Oil. [online] WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/diet/mct-oil-health-benefits-common-uses [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  2. O’Brien, S. (2020). 7 Science-Based Benefits of MCT Oil. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/mct-oil-benefits#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3 [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  3. Knox, B. (2021). MCT Oil In Coffee: Is It For Taste, Health Benefits, Or Some Other Reason? [online] Super Coffee. Available at: https://drinksupercoffee.com/blog/nutrition/mct-oil-in-coffee/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  4. All The Nourishing Things. (2018). 40+ MCT Oil Recipes That Aren’t ‘Bulletproof’ Coffee. [online] Available at: https://allthenourishingthings.com/mct-oil-recipes-that-arent-bulletproof-coffee/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  5. https://www.facebook.com/JustTakeABite (2018). Healthy Gluten Free Instant Porridge with MCT Oil | Just Take A Bite. [online] Just Take A Bite. Available at: https://justtakeabite.com/2018/08/07/healthy-gluten-free-instant-porridge-mct-oil/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  6. Hand, J. (2017). Mouth-watering Pot Roast and Brussels Sprouts Recipe. [online] Bulletproof. Available at: https://www.bulletproof.com/recipes/eating-healthy/pot-roast-brussels-sprouts-recipe/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  7. SciTechDaily. (2022). MCT Oil Benefits and Side Effects – According to Science. [online] Available at: https://scitechdaily.com/mct-oil-benefits-and-side-effects-according-to-science/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].
  8. Ali, R. (2019). What is MCT oil and why is it becoming popular with dieters? [online] USA TODAY. Available at: https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/02/05/what-mct-oil-diet-cocounut-oil-medium-chain-triglycerides/2657374002/ [Accessed 4 Jan. 2023].

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Heather, F., Health Coaching
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Wellness Writer
Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Wellness Writer with a holistic and functional medicine/root cause mindset. My writing style is engaging, relatable, and educational, designed to help readers digest and relate to complex topics in nutrition, gut health, hormone health, mental health, and spiritual health, then inspire them to take action.

ABOUT MEDICAL REVIEWER

Brittany, F., PhD
Occupational Therapist, Medical Reviewer
Brittany is the owner of a writing and consulting company called Simplicity of Health. She has written over 350 pieces of patient-facing content, published 4 books, created over 30 continuing education courses, and medically reviewed countless pieces of content for accuracy. Her media appearances include being quoted as a health expert in WebMD, Healthline, NBCNews, and Forbes.