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What’s With All These Coconut and MCT Oils?
So, coconut oil is back? Check.
MCT oil is more powerful, liquid, and better for you? Uh…
Brain Octane is the fastest metabolising, octanoic ….wait, you lost me!
Oh, let’s start from the beginning…
NOTE: We’re giving away copies of this handy guide below, download it, print it, share it! It’s yours free 🙂
The Great Coconut and MCT Oil Battle
A question we get asked almost daily is what’s the difference between XCT and coconut oil.
The next question is invariably, what’s the difference then between the XCT (MCT Oil) and Brain Octane?
Great questions, here is a quick summary for each starting with the amazing coconut oil:
Coconut oil contains varying levels of fatty acids, each with a different name referring to the length of the carbon chains. These are also categorised broadly as long chain triglycerides (LCTs) and medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). Don’t worry, we’ll try to stay away from the total “science-y” stuff, we created this infographic above to help it make sense.
Just about all the cheap and abundant oils in coconut oil are good for you, which is why coconut oil rates so high on the Bulletproof® diet! There are 2 problems here:
- Studies show you can’t get enough of the really useful MCTs from just eating coconut oil or a so-called “MCT oil” that is diluted with lauric acid, a useful, but cheap, and hugely abundant part of coconut oil that is marketed as an MCT oil
- With such a strong flavour and thick consistency most of the year, it isn’t exactly easy to consume high amounts of coconut oil on its own (try fitting 18 tablespoons of coconut oil in your coffee…let alone swallow it!)
Coconut oil and MCT oil sellers and producers are legally allowed to claim that lauric acid is an MCT because chemists named it that way. The issue then is that biochemists recognise that it doesn’t act like other true biological MCT oils and is metabolised by us completely differently.
So, check your MCT labels, if you’re counting on plain coconut oil or “MCT-labeled” oil to get enough useful MCTs, you might be getting very few of the potent short chain MCTs (C8 and C10), and lots of the cheaper but ineffective lauric acid.
Some MCT’s, particularly the longer chains, can cause stomach discomfort and what is affectionately known within the Bulletproof community as “disaster pants”. Ok, TMI..
They can also be produced with harsh chemicals in a process called RDB or refined, deodorised, and bleached. Yes, bleach. Worse still they can be hydrogenated, which can further damage the healthy parts of the oil and move this from the GOOD for you to the “trans fat” BAD for you category.
A cleaner way to isolate these MCT’s is to fractionate the oil.
Here is the Wikipedia definition: Fractionated coconut oil provides fractions of the whole oil so that its different fatty acids can be separated for specific uses. Lauric acid, a 12-carbon chain fatty acid, is often removed because of its high value for industrial and medical purposes. The fractionation of coconut oil can also be used to isolate caprylic acid and capric acid, which are medium-chain triglycerides, as these are used for medical applications, special diets and cosmetics, sometimes also being used as a carrier oil for fragrances.
As we mentioned before, biologically, lauric acid should be considered a long chain triglyceride (LCT) as unlike the biological MCTs, lauric acid gets processed by your liver. This matters because your body metabolises MCTs differently than LCTs; unlike LCTs, MCTs get very quickly converted into energy to fuel your brain and body instead of requiring a pit stop in the liver for processing.
Now we get into the good stuff XCT vs. Brain Octane™.
“Which is better – Bulletproof® XCT™ or Brain Octane™?
What’s the difference?
Said better than I could, here is a quote from the man himself, Dave Asprey (The Bulletproof Exec):
Out of these two MCT super-fats, the C8 variety breaks down into energy-fueling ketones even faster than the C10…
Meaning that 100% pure C8 will give you the absolute fastest burst of mental energy.
However, it’s also the rarest of the two: There’s less C8 than C10 in coconut oil, so C8 ends up being a bit more expensive.
Either one will give you much faster performance boost than coconut oil or conventional “MCT oil”… and you can even mix the two together to create your own custom blend.”
Rule of thumb: Use Brain Octane anytime your number one priority is fast mental energy (like your morning Bulletproof® Coffee)…And economize by trying XCT in recipes like salad dressings, soups, and shakes later on in the day for a metabolism boost.
What About the Science?
Apart from what we’ve explained above, there are plenty of medical studies backing this up along with some really exciting benefits which are linked here for your further reading pleasure:
Our friends over at BPDietPlan pulled this whole article together into a really easy to read and great printable .pdf version you can grab now for free. Just let us know where you’re coming in from and it’s yours.
Fat Burning, Weight Management, Ketosis:
Digestion, Gut Health, and Candida Issues: