Does MCT oil break a fast?

by Apoorva Shivankar, M.D

Intermittent Fasting: What Breaks it & What not?

MCT oil break a fast

  • Does bulletproof coffee break your fast?
  • Does MCT Oil Break ketosis?
  • Does heavy cream break a fast?
  • Does collagen break a fast?

What’s your call on these?

Keep thinking and stay tuned as we examine the various ins and outs of fasting as well as fast-breaking.

What do you mean by a FAST?

For me, fasting is nothing but simply going without food for a while but technically, it is a willful refrainment from eating which people do to reduce weight, register protest or for therapeutic/medical advantages or even as a part of spiritual belief.

‘No cooking, No counting calories, No Gyming.

Just say ‘no’ to food, start fasting, get Slim-trim.'

Sounds easy to you. Having tried it myself, I start seeing all my favourite dishes floating in front of my eyes and was really struggling to ward-off my hunger pangs for so long hours. How many of you duplicate with me?

But is there actually a need to tease your palate?

Yes, it is. It’s our very own hunger for health and weight loss that prompts us to bear with this food hunger.

It’s an age-old secret, fast --> cleanse yourself --> be fit and healthy.

Even Hippocrates -The Father of Modern Medicine famously said:

‘Our food should be our medicine; our medicine should be our food.

But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.’

We all have the instinct to fast. Our bodies are designed like-wise, we store food when available, and use these stores in time of scarcity.

But just give it a thought,

What if we keep on storing without utilizing it?

Our storage will continue to grow out of proportion and attract ailments like

Weight gain, Obesity, Insulin sensitivity, Diabetes, Chronic illnesses, Hormonal imbalances, etc.

Thus, a balance is essential, and here comes the need for ‘AN INTERMITTENT FASTING’

Intermittent fasting is a way to induce scarcity, utilize the stored, and create space for new storage. We are just restoring the natural phenomenon with the help of fasting.

Moving on to Intermittent Fasting

As the name indicates, Intermittent Fasting is a time-restricted eating pattern that alternates between fasting and eating periods with a goal to systematically starve our body long enough to trigger fat burning.

The most commonly followed formats include:




16:8 hours

16 hours

8 hours

20:4 hours

20 hours

4 hours

5:2 days

5 days

2 days

1:1 day

1 day



Time for Results?

No prize for guessing the obvious and most wanted- WEIGHT LOSS

Apart from the visible weight loss effects, fasting is a powerful natural healing solution as it:

  • Enhances brain function and mental clarity.
  • Increase stress resistance.
  • Improve gut health.
  • Improves insulin sensitivity and blood sugar levels.
  • Frees you from obesity, hormonal imbalances, and their consequences.
  • Decreases blood lipids and lowers blood pressure.
  • Reduces risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes, and Alzheimer's.
  • Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Aids in stem cell rejuvenation and lipofuscin removal – Anti-aging effects.
  • Increases life expectancy.

WOW!!!! So many benefits. How?

  1. Fasting induces Autophagy
    A magical phenomenon wherein our body cleanses and purifies itself. By Autophagy the harmful, dead, degenerated cells are removed or repaired and the body undergoes self-healing.

    It comes from the science that fasting lets the digestive system take complete rest and allows the body to divert time and energy saved for the repair of its wear and tear instead of digestion. Around 12 hours of fasting is required for this autophagy to set in.

  2. Lack of sugars/carbohydrates during fasting compel the body to break-down fats to generate energy. Thus, the incoming weight loss.

  3. Break down of fats lead to the formation of ketone bodies. These ketone bodies are the favourite food for the brain, which utilizes them and becomes alert and active.

  4. This state of ketosis again stimulates autophagy and thus, a rejuvenated healthy body.

Fascinating, isn’t it?


What shuts Autophagy off- EATING (mainly carbs and proteins, but fats have minimal effect.)

STRESS induced cortisol.

So, carbohydrates (calories), proteins, and stress are a strict NO-NO in fasting.

What breaks a Fast?

Almost everything but water.

Anything that adds calories, technically break a fast.

But finally, it is an individual’s personal perception.

Though the benefits of fasting look tempting, strict fasting is not everyone’s cup of tea. So, to ease it out most people consider minor relaxations that do not affect the outcome much, such as tea, coffee, etc. as acceptable during fasting periods.

So, now there are,

  • Strict Fasting members: any type of food or beverage with any caloric value is off-limits.
  • Lenient Fasting members:  any calorie intake < 50 Calories is acceptable as it can more or less maintain our body in a fasting state.

So, for lenient fasters, fast breakers can be defined as the food items which

  • Adversely affect the beneficiary outcomes of fast.
  • Lower the weight loss process. OR
  • Decrease the ability to maintain a state of ketosis- anything exceeding 50 grams of carbohydrate halt ketosis. OR
  • Restricts Autophagy. OR
  • Can deter your fasting goal.

Question arises:

What all can we, the lenients, consume during fasting to keep ourselves and our fast going on for so long hours?

The cheat codes:

  • Lemon water
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Bone Broth
  • Coffee

These cheat codes have minimal calories (<15 calories per serving) and thus, negligible effects on fasting outcome making them the most popular choice for weight loss.

Does MCT Oil break a fast? Does MCT Oil break ketosis?

MCT oil is a medium chain triglyceride, a fat extracted from coconut oil or palm oil.

For strict fasters – Yes, MCT oil breaks a fast by adding 8 calories/gm.

For a lenient faster - No, it doesn’t. As it

  1. Doesn’t break ketosis.
    Medium chain triglycerides are unique they are speedily converted into ketones in the body favouring a rapid ketosis state.

  2. Being a fat, it minimally affects autophagy and is comparatively safer during fasting.

  3. No reduction in the rate of weight loss-
    - Quick conversion to ketones prevents their storage as fat.
    - MCT also boosts metabolism to keep you lean.

  4. Ketones are the best fuel for the brain- improve brain functions and mental clarity.

  5. Minimal calories for skimpy duration won't raise blood sugar and thus, no elevated insulin response.

  6. Promotes cardiac health, facilitate digestion, increase mental clarity, and boost metabolic functions

  7. Ketones by suppressing the hunger hormone ghrelin and increasing CCK improve your satiety levels which may help you hold on with the fast longer.

Not only this, MCT oil has its own perks too-

  1. Prolongs Satiety
  2. Promotes Autophagy 
  3. Encourages Burning of Fats
  4. Improved Brain Function
  5. Immediate source of energy

So, by using MCT oil, the benefits of fasting and benefits of MCT oil come together to give a BUMPER EFFECT.

So, my take is, happily enjoy 2 teaspoons of MCT oil orally or add one teaspoon (42 calories) MCT to non-caloric beverages like black coffee or tea to ward off those nasty hunger pangs and get re-energized in the fasting hours without breaking the fast.

Does bulletproof coffee break your fast?

1 cup Bulletproof coffee = 1-2 teaspoons of MCT Oil
1-2 teaspoons of grass-fed butter or ghee


  1. MCT oil as seen earlier do not tend to break intermittent fasting.

  2. Grass-fed butter or ghee- though tempting to cause weight gain instead rapidly gets converted to ketones as the body is already set in full-blown ketogenesis due to intermittent fasting.

  3. Coffee-
  • Being almost nil in carbs, proteins, fats; coffee rarely affects the ketosis state in itself.
  • Moreover, studies suggest that coffee can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes type 2, and even improve brain and metabolic functions.
  • In addition, caffeine itself being a nutrient-rich antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, adds to the effects/benefits of intermittent fasting.


Thus, by consuming bullet-proof coffee,

though the perks of autophagy are slightly affected, all the other benefits of intermittent fasting such as ketosis, weight-loss, health effects are maintained making it a delicious drink to take the fast ahead without (or just minimally) breaking it.

So, for someone like me, bullet-proof coffee is not a fast-breaker in itself.

But for a strict fasting person, this bullet-proof coffee is a complete NO-NO.

Does heavy cream break a fast?

For strict fast, yes as always.

But my easy goers,

We all love cream. A good morning coffee with a splash of cream and you go yummmmmm….

But is this cream good for our ongoing weight loss fasting regime?

Initial thoughts suggest, with the cream we have completely messed up your fasting protocol.

But wait, ongoing deeper, we were happily surprised,

Yes, we can go ahead with cream during fasting too, but only in limited quantities and that too with some big compromises like: 

    1. Cream has carbohydrates (though in acceptable amounts) to be used as an energy source – decreases ketogenesis.
      (1 Tbsp. of heavy cream contains around 0.4g of net carbohydrates, 0.4g of protein and 5.4g of fat.)

    2. Gut is not at complete rest -as the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats present in it need processing – SHUTS DOWN AUTOPHAGY.

    3. Slow weight loss: as cream itself provides energy and so the body fat reserve is not utilized efficiently.

    What goes in favour is: The low concentration of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are not sufficient enough to mask the entire beneficial profile of fasting.

    As we say something is better than nothing. The cream can be used only if one can’t do without it and that too in restricted doses.

    For me, its status is still debatable. It’s up to you. Choose:

    1. Weight loss without cream. OR

    2. Minimal weight loss but with cream.

    Difficult choice. All the best.

    Does collagen break fast?

    1. Collagen is made up of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and these proteins are converted to sugars by gluconeogenesis in the body which on metabolism yield calories. Thus, technically it breaks the fast. It surely does with an average of 23 calories in one serving.

    2. Sugars stimulate insulin secretion which is a fat-storage hormone thus facilitating fat deposition rather than fat burning.

    3. Calories in collagen can knock-off the benefit of Autophagy, but the advantage of less eating still prevails though partially.

    4. What favours collagen is: Pure collagen supplements free from chemicals, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, pesticides, etc. do have a very minute quantity of calories in them.

    So, if you are not into that perfect fasting bracket, then an all-natural collagen is one of the smallest and healthiest options available for you.

    My verdict on collagen will be that though debatable in lower concentrations, it’s better to save it for the eating periods of your fast. I mean, why waste a 16 hour long fast and compromise on lesser gains.

    But then they say ‘it’s always better to have some than none’.

    To conclude

    ‘He who eats till he is sick, should fast till he is well.’

    Intermittent fasting is turning out to be a powerful solution to all health ailments by unmasking the self-healing and rejuvenating property of the human body. And to ease that we gave you the list of cheat codes too. Select your favourite one….

    Even the great personalities of different religion unite at this platform of fasting:

    • Jesus Christ said, ‘Satan and its plagues may be cast out only with fasting and prayers.’
    • Benjamin Franklin, the smartest man in the world, believed that,

    ‘The best form of medicine is resting and fasting.’

    • Mahatma Gandhi believed, ‘A genuine fast cleanses the body, mind, and soul.’
    • Buddhist monks typically fast from noon till the sunrise of the next day.
    • Muslims fast from sun-up to sun-down, every day in the month of Ramadan to cleanse their body and soul.

    Then who are we waiting for,

    We have the goals,
    We have the idols,
    We have the cheat codes too.
    So, let’s get started.


    How long should an ideal fasting last?

    • Ideally fasting should not extend I day.
    • A healthy adult can easily sustain fast for a day or two without any harmful effects. Strict fast for 3 or more days is hazardous.

    How should not do fasting?

    • Elderly,
    • Pregnant and breast-feeding women
    • Chronic diseases
    • Children

    What is the difference between a diet plan and fasting?


    Diet plan

    Intermittent fasting

    Type of food

    Restricted- eat low calories.

    No restrictions

    Quantity of food

    Restricted- as per calorie intake.

    No restrictions

    Time to eat


    Fixed intervals of eating and fasting


    What is fat fasting?

    • Short term.
    • Very low carbohydrates (sugars) and high-fat diet.
    • 80–90% of the diet is fat.
    • This rapidly shifts the body into ketosis and promotes weight loss.
    • Thus, it mimics normal fasting to achieve weight loss.

    Can I Exercise During the Fasting Period?

    • Depends on your stores.
    • Some can, some cannot.
    • Start with light exercises initially to accustom your body to the new change.

    What are Atkin and Keto diets?

    • Both are low carbohydrate diets to promote fat burning and weight loss.
    • Keto diet maintains a low carbohydrate diet to maintain ketosis.
    • Atkin is just the opposite. Here, there is a gradual increase in carbohydrate diet.


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