How do you break a fast on diet programs like Intermittent Fasting (IF)? Fun Fact: Google reports that IF was the top trending diet in 2019 based on a search. This fasting diet has been around for centuries and various world cultures have practiced it since ancient times for diet and health benefits. When you fast one of the main issues is if stuff like MCT oil fasting breaks a fast. This omega-3 fatty acid is a healthy fat found in foods like coconut oil. That said, MCT oil is a dietary supplement so the big question is whether or not it can break a fast. Taking a supplement is certainly different than eating real food like coconut milk, flour, or oil.
This involves the big question of what stuff breaks a fast. For example, while coffee and tea are called zero-calorie drinks they have some calories. So while they’re not solid food it’s different than drinking water, which is the only natural 0-calorie food. MCT oil is extracted from foods like coconuts then added to a supplement form like liquid, powder, or tablet. Stuff like oils is a mixed bag because they have calories yet it’s not a solid food like MCTs in whole milk, cheddar cheese, or Greek yogurt.
What Is Breaking a Fast?
It might seem like this just means eating some food after a fast when on diets like Intermittent Fasting (IF). Eating solid food will break a fast since it’s real food. However, other stuff like beverages and dietary supplements are more of a grey area. Even though they have calories it’s different from eating a slice of pizza, a bowl of popcorn, or Fat Bomb.
There are many kinds of fasting. Sometimes it’s done for religious or medical purposes. However, in recent years Intermittent Fasting (IF) has been trending. This type of diet requires you to follow a daily fasting/eating split like hourly cycles of 16/8, 18/6, or 20/4. You can even do a more extreme diet like “alternate day” fasting that alternates 24 hours of fasting and a 24-hour eating window.
This diet is somewhat like the Keto diet because it puts your body in the metabolic state of ketosis. It forces your body to burn up blood sugar, get fuel from stored fat, and crank out more ketone molecules to fuel the body/brain.
It’s important to know what foods, beverages, and supplements breakfasts. One reason is so you’ll know the best ways to end fasting periods. Another reason is you can avoid accidentally breaking your fast in the middle of it.
When fasting it’s important to know what’s generally allowed and forbidden on IF diets. This can help you to stay on track and also avoid breaking your fast by accident.
Fun Fact: Water is considered a drink but not a beverage. When you’re fasting this is easily one of the most important things to drink. It helps flush out fat, wastes, and toxins. H2O also helps with appetite control since it fills up your stomach so you’ll have less hunger. Another big plus is it’s 0-calorie so you can drink 3 liters daily and not gain any weight besides short-term water weight.
MCT Oil Fasting: Breaks or Fuels Fasts?
There’s other stuff besides water you can consume during fasts including coffee, tea, and apple cider vinegar. Make sure to go with healthy options like black coffee, green tea, and raw ACV.
Bone broth is the real deal when fasting. Forget about cans of chicken stock. Bone broth is high in several nutrients like collagen proteins, which make up 80% of the skin. Besides the fluids you also get salts/electrolytes, which are critical when you’ve been consuming few/no calories while fasting.
Another possible issue is healthy fats. This includes coconut oil, butter, and MCT oil. These are tricky issues because oils break a fast but won’t kick you out of ketosis. So if you’re on a low-carb diet like Keto or Atkins then such options get a thumbs up.
The full name for MCT is medium-chain triglyceride. This is related to the length of fat chains known as “triglycerides.” When you get blood tests sometimes these blood fats are checked. MCTs are easy to digest and can provide several health benefits.
Foods with high levels of MCTs include coconut oil and dairy products. However, if you’re fasting then you’ll have to avoid foods like coconut flakes and Greek yogurt. MCT oil breaks a fast.
That said, it doesn’t kick you out of ketosis from carbs, so it’s generally OK for diets like IF, Keto, and Atkins. That’s because the main goal of these diets is to stay in ketosis. Another plus is you’re getting more healthy fat since it’s a type of omega-3 fatty acid. These are healthier options than omega-6 fatty acids in many vegetable oils like corn, sunflower, and canola.
Studies show that MCT oil might provide various health benefits including:
- Weight loss
- Heart Health
- Diabetes treatment
- Alzheimer’s/Epilepsy treatment
- Energy boost
Whether you’re fasting or feasting you should consider adding MCT oil to your diet.
Top Benefits and Sources of MCT Oils
Here are some of the top possible benefits of MCT oils:
This is a critical issue for people doing daily fasts since they’re often followed for shedding pounds and burning fat. This has been the most-studied research topic by scientists. Some studies show that MCT oil might help to burn more calories/fast.
It’s worth noting that studies have focused on MCT fat for weight loss rather than MCT oil supplements. So more research is needed that includes the omega-3 supplement.
MCTs might help to boost heart health by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Various studies show that options like coconut oil seem to lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol.
Many weightlifters/athletes report that MCT oil seems to boost their energy levels and endurance during workouts. Some studies also show that MCTs seem to be more effective than long-chain fats for boosting endurance during high-intensity exercises.
Some studies show that MCTs seem to help lower blood sugar levels, which could help to treat and prevent diabetes. Lowering blood sugar levels is important for disease management among diabetes patients.
This could benefit people with brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. A 2016 study review reported Alzheimer’s patients had lower abilities to absorb glucose. It was also noted that ketosis caused small benefits for people by triggering energy from fat-produced ketone molecules instead of blood sugar.
More research is needed for this possible benefit of MCT oil. However, it seems there’s some proof MCT can help boost brain function and memory.
There are several key sources of MCTs:
- Coconut Oil
- Palm Kernel Oil
Coconut oil is easily the best source of this healthy oil. It makes up 15% of the total fat content so is a good option for MCT oil fasting.