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What is the Difference Between Coconut Oil & MCT Oil?

Coconut Oil and MCT Oil are both an amazing source of healthy fats to support Keto and Paleo diets, but what exactly is the difference? And which is best?

What is Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil is oil which has been extracted from fresh coconut meat or copra - dried coconut meat. It is a solid, white fat at room temperature but quickly melts at higher temperatures.

Due to it's moderately high smoke point and delicate coconut flavour, coconut oil is a popular oil to use in cooking. As a plant-based fat it is also frequently used as a vegan substitute for animal fat.

Coconut oil comprises varying types of fatty acids, including Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).

What is MCT Oil?

MCT Oil, as you may have already guessed, is oil which is made up purely of MCTs - as opposed to containing MCTs amongst other fats.

As coconuts provide the most concentrated source of MCTs of any food, MCT oil is usually derived from coconuts. However, it is extracted to provide 100% MCTs and none of the other fats found naturally in coconuts.

Coconut Oil vs MCT Oil: What's the difference?

So, if coconut oil comes from coconuts and MCT oil comes from coconut oil - are they not the same thing? No!

There are several differences between coconut oil and MCT oil which effect their taste, uses and perhaps most importantly - their nutritional profile. Here are some of the key differences between coconut oil and MCT oil.

  • MCT Concentration - The main difference between coconut oil and MCT oil is their fatty acid compositions. Whilst coconut oil contains some MCTs, MCT oil is 100% MCTs and so is a much more potent source.

  • Fatty Acid Composition - Coconut oil is made up of both medium chain triglycerides and long chain triglycerides, where as MCT oil contains solely medium chain triglycerides. Coconut oil is also made up of primarily Lauric Acid (C12), whereas MCT oil contains mostly Caprylic Acid (C8) and Capric Acid (C10).

  • Smoke Point - Coconut oil has a smoke point of around 200C compared with MCT oil whose smoke point is lower at 170C. This means that you can use coconut oil in high heat cooking, but MCT oil is best suited for low to medium cooking temperatures.

  • Consistency - MCT oil is liquid at room temperature, whereas coconut  oil is solid. As it is solid, coconut oil can easily be used to make beauty products, soaps and even fat bombs to eat - whereas MCT oil cannot.

  • Taste - Coconut oil tastes - you guessed it - like coconuts! It has a subtle coconut aroma and flavour which works really well in cooking exotic dishes. On the other hand, MCT oil is neutral in both taste and smell, so is used mostly for its health benefits rather than to enhance taste.
  • Energy Utilisation - MCT oil is more readily converted to energy compared with coconut oil. This makes MCT oil a great supplement for increasing sustainable energy during a workout and also kicks starts your fat burning state by enhancing ketosis.

  • Price - As with most things in life, cost is always a consideration. As MCT oil usually costs more than coconut oil, this is something which sometimes pushes people towards buying coconut oil as an alternative. However, as MCT oil is 100% MCTs it must be extracted and purified, so this extra process must reflected in the cost.

Are Coconut Oil and MCT Oil Keto Friendly?

Coconut oil and MCT oil are pure fats with zero carbs, making them the ideal addition to your Keto lifestyle.

They can both help you to increase your intake of energy and essential fatty acids, which is vital for getting Keto right.

More specifically, as MCTs are rapidly digested in the liver they also directly contribute to Ketone production and so ketosis.

It could be very reasonably argued that MCT oil is one of the best supplements you can enjoy to support your Keto, low carb or real food lifestyle.

Are Coconut Oil and MCT Oil Paleo Friendly?

Coconut oil and MCT oil are both derived from coconuts which would have been available to our Hunter & Gather ancestors, and so they are welcome additions to your Paleo diet.

They are also good alternatives to boost your fat intake if you do not eat dairy products such as butter due to your Paleo lifestyle. Just be sure to choose an oil which is 100% coconut oil or 100% MCTs - to avoid any added non-Paleo ingredients.

Coconut Oil vs. MCT Oil: Which is Best?

Deciding between coconut oil and MCT oil will depend on a number of factors.

If you would like an oil to cook with which will withstand high heats and bring its own flavour to dishes, then coconut oil sounds like the best option.

But if you would like an oil to increase your intake of healthy fats and to include in your diet as more of a functional food, then MCT oil will be best.

The important thing to remember is that coconut oil is not MCT oil and so you cannot replace MCT oil with coconut oil and vice versa.

However, the good news is that you don't even have to decide between the two, as you can include both coconut oil and MCT oil in your diet.

Hunter & Gather Organic 100% Coconut MCT Oil

Hunter & Gather MCT Oil is made using Organically grown coconuts and nothing else. We don't add any palm oil or rapeseed oil- which are often added to bulk out other inferior MCT oils.

Our Organic coconuts are an amazing natural source of MCTs, which we gently extract using water, steam and pressure. This triple steam distilled method extracts a potent source of MCTs which are minimally processed and have a neutral taste and aroma.

You can add Hunter & Gather MCT Oil to your morning coffee, shakes, smoothies and healthy real food recipes. It's a convenient and reliable way to get a boost of healthy fats that will keep your body and mind optimally fuelled.


All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.

It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.

We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.

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