Fasting has become an increasingly popular practice in recent years due to the numerous benefits it offers. Put simply, a fast is essentially a period of time during which a person refrains from consuming any food or drinks that contain calories.
In this blog post, we will explore what fasting is, why someone might choose to fast, and the different types of fasts available. We will also discuss whether taking MCT oil will break a fast or not.
Will MCT Oil Break A Fast?
The answer can be yes and no at the same time. While MCT oil technically contains calories, it can actually assist in the benefits of the fast, depending on your fasting goals. Let's look at the reasons of different type of fasts and whether MCT oil will break that fast.
What are the reasons someone would fast?
There are a number of reasons why someone might choose to fast. For some, it is a religious or spiritual practice,such as Ramadan in the Islamic faith. Many religions include fasting as a way to purify the body and soul, and to demonstrate discipline and self-control.
Others might fast for health reasons. Research has shown that fasting can help improve insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, reduce inflammation, improve cognitive function and even potentially reduce the impacts of Alzheimer's. Here are the different reasons and type of fasts.
Complete Fast / Religious Fast
A complete fast is a type of fast in which a person abstains from all food and drink, including water, for a set period of time. This type of fast is typically done for religious or spiritual reasons, and can last anywhere from a few hours to several days. It is important to note that a complete fast can be dangerous if not done properly, and should only be undertaken under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
Consuming MCT oil during a complete fast will break a fast, as it contains calories.
The most popular type of fast is Intermittent Fasting, a weight management schedule, where someone only eats in an 8-hour window per day, and their body must use fat stores for ‘fuel’ instead of carbohydrates (known as ‘ketosis’) in the remaining 16-hours, potentially offering a range of health benefits.Many people use intermittent fasting as a way to manage calorie intake and manage insulin response.
Consuming MCT oil while intermittent fasting can actually improve the benefits.
MCT Oil and Intermittent Fasting
While it is true that taking MCT oil technically breaks a fast, some proponents of fasting argue that MCT can actually help to increase the length of a fast and provide other benefits.
Taking MCT oil during intermittent fasting may benefit someone who is trying to manage their insulin response because MCT oil is quickly converted into ketones, which can provide energy to the body without causing a significant insulin response. This means that taking MCT oil during a fast may help to prolong the state of ketosis, which is a metabolic state that occurs during fasting and can have numerous health benefits.
What is MCT Oil, How Does It Work, and What Are Its Benefits?
Medium-chain triglyceride oil (or more commonly known as MCT oil) are a group of essential fatty acids, derived from foods such as coconuts and dairy products. Given the lower amount of carbon present within MCT oil, it can be more easily ingested by the body, travelling through our blood and into the liver, to be converted neatly into energy. Studies have shown MCT oil benefits us by elevating dietary induced thermogenesis, improving how we burn calories and therefore:
- Store less excess fat
- Improves weight loss
- Enhance brain function
- Decrease hunger
- Improves gut health
- Controls blood sugar levels
How Does MCT Oil Affect the Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting?
MCT oil health benefits can be found in just 1-2 teaspoons per day, converting directly to energy within your body and making it easy to burn fat over glucose. For this reason, MCT oil will not directly disrupt the health benefits of intermittent fasting. With minimal dosages, your blood sugar will not spike (prompting an insulin response), and nor will your caloric intake be impacted. Certain products actually assist with ketosis, including a range of product options from Melrose Health:
- MCT Oil Energy & Exercise 250ml
- MCT Oil Energy & Exercise 500ml
- MCT Oil Kick Start 250ml
- MCT Oil Kick Start 500ml
When is the Best Time to Take MCT Oil When Fasting?
If you have decided to continue consume MCT Oil throughout your fasting period for the continued health benefits, it is common to wonder when the best time would be to take it. For many, that will depend on the type of fasting schedule you are following. The typical 8-hours to eat versus 16 hours of fasting ratio utilises the time when we are asleep, meaning the best time to take MCT oil is first thing in the morning, perhaps alongside a cup of tea or coffee.
After all, this is the time when we need to be refreshed and energised the most to get an accelerated start to the day. Given that MCT oil will not directly ‘break’ a fast, however, there is no ‘best’ time for consumption. Whenever you feel you most need that extra injection of energy throughout your day, MCT oil can be the perfect solution to get you through until the end of fasting.