In essence, liquid coconut oil and MCT oil are similar in many ways. The thing is, you only heard about liquid coconut oil in recent years. Whereas you could have long heard about hospitals using MCT oil to treat various health issues since the 1950s.
Patients suffering from cystic fibrosis, malabsorption, epilepsy, poor protein and fat metabolism show significant improvement after MCT oil treatment.
Not only that, some smart athletes have long started using MCT oil to control weight and improve their exercise performance.
Because of its extensive use in hospitals and sports nutrition, you would never associate MCT oil with cooking. Which brings about the invention of liquid coconut oil in recent years.
As a matter of fact, liquid coconut oil is just an MCT oil being packaged differently as a cooking oil. Which means, consuming liquid coconut oil can provide whatever benefits MCT oil provides.
In other words, you can use liquid coconut oil in place of MCT oil or vice versa.
However, they do still have a slight difference.
What’s the Slight Difference?
Do you know that they’re actually fractionated coconut oil? They both contain primarily caprylic and capric acids, which are medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Holding purely MCTs allow the oil to stay liquid even at temperatures much lower than room temperatures. For example, 32 °F or 0 °C. (Regular coconut oil turns solid at about 76 °F or 24 °C.)
Some companies have added lauric acid to both fractionated coconut oils to increase their health value. Of course, from the marketing point of view, this can attract more health nuts.
That’s because lauric acid has relatively stronger antimicrobial properties that can protect you against a broader strain of harmful microbes. It’s also an MCT. So, it fits well into the label.
The only difference between liquid coconut oil and MCT oil is probably the odor.
Most MCT oils are unflavored whereas many brands of liquid coconut oils are made to retain the natural coconut scent.
More Benefits of the Fractionated Coconut Oils
Apart from being edible, you can also apply them directly to your skin.
Due to their contents of purely MCTs, they both feel light and thin on skin. Hence, they can penetrate your skin very well. You can also use them to dilute some essential oils for massage therapy.
Sounds weird for using them on skin?
You can treat them like virgin coconut oil. Although virgin coconut oil is good for health when consumed, it is good for skin too when used topically.
So, if you can put virgin coconut oil on skin, you definitely can do the same with liquid coconut oil or MCT oil.
Which is Better – Liquid Coconut Oil or MCT Oil?
As they’re basically the same, it all comes down to your personal feel and preference.
For me, I use them interchangeably for skin care. Cooking and consumption wise, I prefer virgin coconut oil as it gives me a more natural mouthfeel. Also, virgin coconut oil does better than the fractionated coconut oils in terms of health benefits.