With the rise in popularity of bulletproof coffee, a beverage made of black coffee mixed with either VCO or Grassfed butter, comes desire to experiment with various fat sources to add to our daily cup of joe. “Healthy fats” ranging from grass-fed butter to VCO have been used in creating what most tout as coffee taken to the next level. With this, the MCT oil has also gained popularity. But, what exactly is MCT oil and how is it different from VCO?
Virgin Coconut Oil or VCO is harvested from mature coconut meat. Depending on the extraction process described, VCO can be harvested via “wet-milling” process wherein coconut milk is extracted from the wet meat of a coconut. This milk is then heated until the milk curdles and sinks and the oil naturally separates.
The “no heat” method, on the other hand, extracts oil from dried coconut meat. Both processes, however, do not use chemicals and hexanes in the extraction process for the end product to be classified as Virgin Coconut Oil.
MCT oil or liquid coconut oil is refined, usually via fractionation, from coconut oil. The process separates the Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) from VCO. This is done with the belief that, since MCT is healthy, if you take in more of it, the better the benefits are. Question is, what do you lose or gain when you take processed MCT oils?
The Purpose and Benefits
Virgin Coconut oil is considered a superfood due to the benefits it gives the body. It is rich in Lauric Acid, which the body converts into monolaurin. Monolaurin has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties. VCO is usually taken for general health.
MCT oil, on the other hand, is mainly used to get the precious medium-chain triglycerides as part of the daily diet. Some people also use it as a source of energy.
Here lies the problem: in order to separate MCT from VCO, it has to undergo a process. This process includes fractionation and treating the oil with solvents and chemicals in order to extract MCT from coconut oil. If your bottle of MCT oil does not specify a hexane-free, chemical-free, solvent-free extraction process, you cannot be sure they don’t use these harmful stuff in the process of making MCT oil. What does that mean? It means you are drinking the chemicals and solvents as well!
If you can find MCT oil that is not processed with solvents and chemicals, then that might be great to use for your bulletproof recipes (i.e. coffee). However, in the absence of such MCT oil, just opt for VCO. VCO can be used topically, as a food supplement, for oil pulling, and for food preparation as well.