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Leveraging the Benefits of MCTs

The keto kickstart is grabbing the attention of consumers looking to lose those pandemic pounds. For manufacturers interested in supporting these consumers' weight management goals with the right type of products, here’s an in-depth look at the must-have keto ingredient: MCTs.

What are MCTs?

Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are certain types of fats characterized by their medium-length fatty acid chains, much shorter than the long-chain fatty acids found in most dietary fats. Their small size allows MCTs to be quickly absorbed by the small intestine and transported to the liver, where they can ultimately be converted to ketones. Ketones act as an energy source for the body in the absence of carbs, making MCTs a key ingredient in the ketogenic diet.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet (or keto diet) is a fat-based diet that leads to the depletion of the body’s glycogen stores, causing the body to break down fat. As fat is broken down, ketones are produced, which the body burns for energy instead of glucose. 

While the classic keto diet required 80-90% fat—making it notoriously difficult to follow—a 1970’s modification known as the MCT keto diet reduced the fat requirement through supplementation with MCTs. This is the popular keto diet of today and requires an intake of around 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and 5-10% carbs.

For most people, this translates to fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day, meaning grains, legumes, starchy vegetables, and most fruits are out. Meat, seafood, eggs, high-fat dairy products like cheese and butter, non-starchy vegetables such as leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and plant oils make up the bulk of the keto diet. The transition into ketosis takes one to three days and may be accompanied by a reduction in food cravings.

Who is the Keto Consumer?

According to Mintel research, the typical keto consumer is a 25- to 54-year-old, urban, adventure eater. Keto dieters are split equally between men and women and are more likely to have children.1  The availability of keto options has grown more important to consumers, with 29% of North American consumers indicating ketogenic is either important or very important when choosing sports nutrition products, according to FMCG Gurus.2  

Innova data shows the proportion of North American new keto product launches using MCT has been growing, with coconut-based MCTs the most popular. 3 With consumers using the “keto kickstart” to kick off a new diet post-COVID, expect many new consumers to seek out keto products that will support their efforts.


Choosing MCTs for Keto Products

While some dietary fats such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil contain MCTs, the levels naturally present are not high enough to support ketosis. Supplementing with MCTs is key. However, MCTs don't all work the same way in the body. 

MCTs, which differ in the number of carbon atoms they have, include caproic acid (C6), caprylic acid (C8), capric acid (C10), and lauric acid (C12). Multiple studies have found C8 MCTs are better absorbed by the liver and oxidized faster. 4-9  They also increase plasma ketone response more than other MCTs, making C8 MCTs the best choice for supporting ketogenesis.

Growth Ahead in the Keto Market

The global keto market, which reached $9.57 billion in 2019, is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 5.5% between 2020 and 2027 to $14.75 billion, according to Grand View Research.10 While North America leads with more than 35% of the global keto market, Asia Pacific is expected to be the fastest-growing market. Supplements continue to make up the largest share of the category. However, the highest growth is forecast for the snacks segment at a CAGR of 6.1%.

KetoSureTM MCT

To tap into the expanding keto market, careful attention to formulation and ingredients is essential. Glanbia Nutritionals’ KetoSureTM MCT is an ingredient solution that provides optimal support for the keto diet. KetoSureTM MCT is based on C8 MCTs, which research showed is three times more ketogenic than C10 MCTs and nine times more than C12 MCTs when consumed by healthy adults in an eight-hour metabolic study.11 KetoSureTM MCT is a coconut-derived MCT powder on a whey protein carrier, with a clean label and clean flavor—perfect for beverage powders, bars, and snacks.

With weight management a growing concern globally, manufacturers have an important opportunity to develop products that can help consumers support their efforts. Contact us to learn more about the benefits of using KetoSureTM MCT in your products.


1. Mintel. (2020). Consumer Approach to Nutrition. Base: 90 internet users 18+ who describe their current diet as a ketogenic diet (out of total base: 2000).
2. FMCG Gurus. (2020). Sports Nutrition North America Overview – 2020.
3. Innova database. (2020). Categories: sports nutrition & supplements. Data 2015-2020 YTD October.
4. Frontiers in Nutrition. (2019). 6(46).
5. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. (2016). 1367(1):12-20. 
6. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. (1982). 36(5):950-62. 
7. International Dairy Journal. (2006). 16:1374–82. 
8. Journal of Lipid Research. (2016). 57(6):943-54. 
9. Current Developments in Nutrition. (2017). 1(4). 
10. Grand View Research. (2020). Ketogenic Diet Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report By Product (Supplements, Snacks, Beverages), By Distribution Channel (Supermarket/Hypermarket, Specialist Retailers, Online), By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2020 – 2027. 
11. Frontiers in Nutrition. (2019). 6(46).

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