MCT oils and powders have rapidly risen in popularity over the past few years. They’re used by people around the world as a natural dietary supplement to aid weight loss and improve their physical health. We’re reviewing one such powder, Sports Research MCT Oil Powder.
About MCTs: A Quick Guide
Before we talk about Sports Research MCT Oil Powder in particular, we’ll include a quick guide to MCTs as a whole for those who aren’t familiar with them.
MCT is an abbreviation of Medium Chain Triglycerides. These are a type of healthy fat molecule that already circulates in our blood. Our bodies use MCTs to store energy, from our diet, for later use.
When we go long periods of time without eating food, our body can turn to MCTs to provide energy for our cells instead.
There are four different MCTs, known as C6, C8, C10 and C12. These aren’t their actual, scientific names but they’re a lot easier to remember.
Most experts believe C8 and C10 are the best MCTs for the body to use, but many products on the market also contain C6 and C12 which are also popular.
Good-quality MCTs are sourced from coconuts, which are naturally high in MCTs but fairly expensive to import and process. They’re ground up to extract their oil and then refined to remove everything else except the MCTs.
It’s probably fair to say that the majority of MCT products on the market are sold as oils. However, for some, such as Sports Research MCT Oil Powder, the oily mixture is processed further by spray-drying it, turning the oil into a powder.
It’s impossible to remove all traces of the other, unwanted stuff so people with a tree-nut allergy shouldn’t take this product.
About Sports Research MCT Powder
Sports Research has been producing health and wellness products since the early 80s and they launched their range of MCT products just a few years ago.
They’ve become a popular brand, known for making quality supplements including collagen peptides, vitamin products and of course, MCT products.
Judging by the thousands of positive reviews on Amazon, Sports Research MCT Oil Powder is a favourite of thousands of people, but does it live up to the hype?
Here’s our honest, in-depth review of Sports Research MCT Oil Powder.
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder Supplement Facts
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Directions for Use
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder is designed to be mixed into a hot or cold beverage. You could mix it into a glass of tap water or milk, but there are better methods of consumption.
Mix it into smoothies, shakes, hot chocolate or coffee to make bulletproof coffee, a popular ketogenic breakfast drink. Because Sports Research MCT Oil Powder is flavor-neutral, it can be added to most drinks without dramatically changing their taste.
Here’s the one potential drawback of an MCT powder as opposed to an oil – it’s simply not as versatile. Whereas MCT oil can also be added to foods – drizzled over salads, for instance, or used to sauté foods — powder is more limited.
That said, the Sports Research website has a blog dedicated to recipes that include their MCT-based products. They’ve also created a series of workout videos and meal plans that use MCTs.
This is a nice feature and we’re surprised more supplement companies haven’t done the same.
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder is made using 100% GMO-free, vegan certified coconuts. We approve of GMO-free products and MCT oil made of coconuts as opposed to palm oil.
Many companies use palm oil instead of coconuts which ruins the planet and produces an inferior quality product.
This product contains only C8 and C10 MCTs and also contains acacia gum, which is used to stabilize the MCTs and help keep powder light and fluffy.
Acacia gum is full of water-soluble dietary fiber and helps support the digestive system – it’s also thought to regulate blood sugars and is used as food by the microbes in our gut.
Of course, adding 2g of prebiotic (acacia) fiber to the product means that you gain less MCTs per serving.
As it stands, Sports Research MCT Oil Powder provides 6g of MCTs per serving, which they claim is the highest percentage of MCTs per scoop of powder.
Of course, when you compare it to the MCT oils on the market, it is significantly less per serving.
It’s true that MCT powders tend to be less concentrated than their oil counterparts but consider that our favorite MCT oil, Performance Lab MCT , contains more than double the amount of MCTs (12.2g) per serving and you can see what you’re sacrificing for the powder format.
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Sports Research MCT Oil Powder Formula Analysis
So, the big question: does Sports Research MCT Oil Powder work? The many positive reviews on Amazon would suggest it does. Most scientific studies into the effects of MCTs conclude that they are a useful supplement for weight loss, and we agree (see the evidence below).
We also like the fact that Sports Research has invested in creating a clean MCT Oil Powder formula.
When choosing an MCT powder you should evaluate both the active amount of useful MCTs as well as any additives introduced during the manufacturing process.
Not all powders are created equally, and you may find that inferior cheaper products typically add GMO, gluten, dairy-based or derived ingredients.
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder, however, is certified vegan, GMO-free and suitable for the Paleo lifestyle, which excludes gluten, so that shouldn’t be an issue here.
Powders are thought to be easier on the gut and digestion than MCT oils, though you can reduce the likelihood of problems with the latter by building up your serving size slowly, allowing your body to get used to it.
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder Benefits
General MCT benefits include weight management, being effective for ketosis, and potentially providing energy for the brain.
Clinical trials show MCTs can influence levels of leptin, one of the hunger hormones responsible for telling our body to store fat, helping to downplay the latter.
All MCTs can also be converted into ketones, with C8 (Caprylic acid) particularly efficient at converting. Sports Research MCT Oil Powder has more C8 (3.42g) than C10.
Ketones decrease appetite, both by changing the body’s levels of ghrelin (yet another hunger hormone) and by promoting ketosis, which is when your body uses ketones instead of carbohydrates as a source of energy.
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder is a Certified Keto product and if you’re attempting a keto diet, we definitely suggest including MCTs in your meal plan.
You don’t have to be in ketosis to experience weight loss, but it certainly helps!
A 2008 study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, gave 49 overweight men and women around 20g of MCTs daily. At the end of the 16-week study, the volunteers typically lost 0.67kg of body weight.
MCTs were linked with less intraabdominal (stomach) fat and overall weight loss too. More recent studies have also backed up these conclusions. The weight loss isn’t necessarily dramatic, but every little helps!
Of course, this study used 20g of MCTs a day – for that you’d have to take four servings of Sports Resea
rch MCT Oil Powder a day and, considering the potential digestive upset you’d likely experience, we wouldn’t recommend it.
Finally, although MCT powders are often used to promote weight loss, they might also boost your brainpower. A 2018 study found that Alzheimer’s patients given ketones (from MCTs) experienced an increase in brain energy metabolism.
This is amazing stuff, but there haven’t been any studies exploring MCTs and brain energy in otherwise healthy adults. More research is definitely needed to reach a solid conclusion.
As an additional bonus, Sports Research MCT Oil Powder contains 39mg of magnesium per scoop. The magnesium comes from the coconuts used to produce the powdered MCTs.
Magnesium is a mineral that’s also associated with weight loss – it’s thought to help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.
Who Takes It?
MCT oils and powders are popular with people from all walks of life and in all professions; everyone from young adults to the elderly can take this product.
It’s great for athletes too as it can give you an energy-boosting dose of MCTs before, during or after working out.
People take MCT products for a wide variety of reasons. Although weight loss is the goal for many people, Sports Research MCT Oil Powder product has many more uses.
Some people use it to help their blood sugars and blood triglyceride levels while others use it to relieve stress (although this hasn’t been scientifically proven). A few reviews even mention their hair and nails looking healthier from taking it.
Any Potential Side Effects with Sports Research MCT Oil Powder?
You can’t overdose on MCT powders, but consuming large amounts (more than a few scoops daily) can cause digestive upset and cramps.
This is one of the most common complaints from buyers of this product, so don’t take too much on an empty stomach.
These side effects can occur when taking any brand of MCT, not just Sports Research MCT Oil Powder, so we won’t hold it against them. If side effects do occur, simply take the powder less often or reduce the amount you’re taking.
As MCT powders can affect blood ketone levels, consult your physician before taking this product if you’re diabetic or have liver problems.
Another side effect to keep in mind is weight gain. All fats are notoriously high in calories and MCTs are no exception. A single scoop of Sports Research MCT Powder contains 45 calories.
This might not seem like much, but over time these extra calories could hamper your weight loss and potentially cause you to pile on the pounds.
To be fair to Sports Research MCT Oil Powder, the oil-based MCT versions tend to have even higher calories.
As long as you follow a balanced, healthy diet you shouldn’t need to worry about these extra calories, especially if you exercise regularly.
Of course, this product is made from coconuts so anyone with a tree nut allergy should avoid it.
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Sports Research MCT Oil Powder Summary
- Decent value for money. You’ll find cheaper products but more expensive ones too.
- No artificial additives or preservatives.
- Made using coconut not, not palm oil.
- Thousands of good reviews on Amazon.
- Only one size available.
- No flavour options.
- Contains acacia fiber.
- Not as versatile as MCT oil.
- Only available to buy online.
Pricing & Where to Buy
Retailing at $30.00 for an 8.9oz tub, this is a reasonably priced MCT powder. Sure, there are cheaper brands around but, in our opinion, it’s worth spending a few extra dollars for a better-quality product.
Each tub contains an estimated 30 servings. Sports Research regularly run offers, deals and discounts on their products, so check their website before looking elsewhere.
You can purchase Sports Research MCT Oil powder directly from the manufacturers or from independent online retailers like GNC. You can also purchase it from Sports Research via their Amazon store, which boasts thousands of positive reviews.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be stocked in any physical shops (yet).
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder Conclusion
Sports Research MCT Oil Powder is a decent product for an MCT powder. It has a clean label, added fiber (though this is also an issue for digestion) and is certified GMO-free, vegan, keto and paleo.
Note, however, that it doesn’t appear to be organic. It’s also popular with thousands of buyers online.
Whether this is the right product for you essentially comes down to personal preference. In theory, the health benefits of MCT powders are the same as MCT oils, though the majority of research has only been done on the latter.
Some people believe powders are easier to use, especially if you want to carry it with you during the day or take it to the gym.
Of course, this product comes in a 9oz tub as opposed to individual sachets so some preparation will be in order.
Here’s our main issue with Sports Research MCT Oil Powder: when it comes down to it, we prefer MCT oil. This is a personal choice for us, but we prefer the higher doses of MCTs that you tend to find in MCT oils.
We also like the flexibility that MCT oils bring, as well as the triple-filtered manufacturing process used by our favoured organic MCT manufacturer, Performance Lab.
You’ll need to decide what’s more important for you – overall MCT dosage or ease of use when out and about. Determine what’s best for your lifestyle and you’ll know whether to choose an MCT powder or oil.