New to MCT? Here’s What You Need to Know!

New to MCT? Here’s What You Need to Know!

What are MCTs?

MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) are the key fat molecules found in coconut oil. MCTs are amazing sources of fuel for the body with many clinically studied health benefits.

What are the benefits of consuming MCTs?

  • Highly ketogenic 1,2
  • Feel fuller longer 3,4
  • Decrease appetite 5,6
  • Promote weight loss 3,4,7-9
  • Promote fat oxidation 10-12
  • Boost metabolism 10-12

What about tummy troubles?

Foods high in MCTs can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. This is particularly common when beginning a diet containing MCTs. They can cause nausea, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea.

What can I do to prevent GI distress when consuming foods containing MCTs?

Start slow and build up gradually. Your body will get used to digesting MCTs and any GI distress will subside in a few days. For example, if are starting a regimen that includes PrimaForce KetoShakes, the serving size is about 30 grams of powdered mix stirred into 8 ounces of water and consumed over 30 minutes. If you are new to MCTs, start instead with:

  • Half a serving or less stirred into 8 ounces of water
  • Consume over an hour (sip it, don’t gulp it – we know it tastes good, but we want you to feel good, too)
  • Stir into cold water, add ice (this will likely also cause you to drink it slower)
  • Build up to a full serving over the course of a few days


  1. Huttenlocher, P. R., wilbourn, A. J. and Signore, J. M.: Medium chain triglycerides as a therapy for intractable childhood epilepsy. Neurology 21: 1097, 1971.
  2. Neal, E. G., Chaffe, H., Schwartz, R. H., Lawson, M. S., Edwards, N., Fitzsimmons, G., Whitney, A. and Cross, J. H. (2009), A randomized trial of classical and medium-chain triglyceride ketogenic diets in the treatment of childhood epilepsy. Epilepsia, 50: 1109–1117. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01870.
  3. St-Onge MP, Ross R, Parsons WD, Jones PJ. Medium-chain triglycerides increase energy expenditure and decrease adiposity in overweight men. Obes Res. 2003;11:395–402.
  4. St-Onge MP, Bosarge A. Weight-loss diet that includes consumption of medium-chain triacylglycerol oil leads to a greater rate of weight and fat mass loss than does olive oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 Mar;87(3):621-6. PubMed PMID: 18326600; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2874190.
  5. St-Onge MP, Jones PJ. Physiological effects of medium-chain triglycerides: potential agents in the prevention of obesity. J Nutr 2002;132:329–32. [PubMed: 11880549]
  6. St-Onge MP, Mayrsohn B, O’Keeffe M, Kissileff HR, Choudhury AR, Laferrère B. Impact of medium and long chain triglycerides consumption on appetite and food intake in overweight men. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Oct;68(10):1134-40. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2014.145. Epub 2014 Jul 30. PubMed PMID: 25074387; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4192077.
  7. St-Onge MP, Bourque C, Jones PJ, Ross R, Parsons WE. Medium-versus long-chain triglycerides for 27 days increases fat oxidation and energy expenditure without resulting in changes in body composition in overweight women. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2003;27:95–102. [PubMed: 12532160]
  8. Nosaka N, Maki H, Suzuki Y, et al. Effects of margarine containing medium-chain triacylglycerols on body fat reduction in humans. J Atheroscler Thromb 2003;10:290–8. [PubMed: 14718746]
  9. Tsuji H, Kasai M, Takeuchi H, Nakamura M, Okazaki M, Kondo K. Dietary medium-chain triacylglycerols suppress accumulation of body fat in a double-blind, controlled trial in healthy men and women. J Nutr 2001;131:2853–9. [PubMed: 11694608]
  10. Dulloo AG, Fathi M, Mensi N, Girardier L. Twenty-four-hour energy expenditure and urinary catecholamines of humans consuming low-to-moderate amounts of medium-chain triglycerides: a dose-response study in a human respiratory chamber. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996;50:152–8.
  11. Scalfi L, Coltorti A, Contaldo F. Postprandial thermogenesis in lean and obese subjects after meals supplemented with medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides. Am J Clin Nutr. 1991;53:1130–3.
  12. Seaton TB, Welle SL, Warenko MK, Campbell RG. Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man. Am J Clin Nutr. 1986;44:630–4.

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