Olive oil is not the best form of oil to use in protein shakes. It is made up of Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs), which slow digestion, delay protein absorption, and lengthen the time between drinking your shake and receiving an energy boost. Instead, choose an oil that is high in Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). MCTs process quickly and provide a host of benefits. MCT oil is the best choice, with coconut oil as another good option for adding oil to a protein shake.
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Why is Olive Oil a Bad Choice for Protein Shakes?
If you’re looking to boost your calorie intake during weight training or want to stick to a strict ketogenic diet, you may be considering olive oil as a protein shake supplement. Beware, olive oil isn’t a good choice for this purpose. All grades of olive oil contain mostly Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs). These LCTs require stomach enzymes to be broken down and used by your body. This process slows your digestion, delaying the time it takes for your body to process the energy, protein, and vitamins in your shake.
- Contains Long Chain Triglycerides (LCTs) which slow digestion.
- Slows the speed at which your body absorbs protein.
- Does not deliver quick energy.
Because olive oil slows digestion and is not readily broken down by your body, adding olive oil to your shake will starve your muscles after a workout. Not only that, but the fact that it takes a long time to break down LCTs means the fats in olive oil will not turn into a source of energy until much later. There are better choices for oil supplements in your shakes.
What is the Best Oil for Protein Shakes?
100% MCT oil is the number one choice for an oil additive in your protein shakes. MCT oil is made up entirely of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs). These medium-chain fats digest far more quickly than the LCTs in olive oil. This means the oil will give you a quick boost of energy and won’t slow the absorption of the protein in your shake.
- 100% MCT oil is the best choice for adding healthy fats and calories to your protein shake.
- MCT oil is made up entirely of Medium Chain Triclycerides (MCTs).
- MCTs provide energy quickly and do not slow protein absorption.
- Coconut oil contains 54% MCTs.
- Olive oil contains 0 MCTs. It is made up entirely of LCTs.
Although 100% MCT oil is the best choice for an oil supplement in shakes, coconut oil is a good second option. It contains 54% MCTs, compared to 0% MCTs in olive oil. When you are looking for an oil to add to your fitness diet, prioritize oils with higher levels of MCTs.
5 Benefits of MCT Oil in Protein Shakes
So, what truly makes MCT oil worth adding to your post-workout shake? Why is it a better choice than olive oil? We’ll walk through the top benefits below so you can make the most of your workout with a healthy protein shake.
Provides Fast Energy
Unlike the LCTs in olive oil, MCT oil does not require special stomach enzymes for digestion. Instead, MCTs are immediately processed through your liver, making the energy in the fat quickly available for your body.
- MCT oil does not need to be broken down by stomach enzymes. It is processed directly by the liver and made available as energy.
- Adding MCT oil to your shake helps boost your energy levels after a workout.
- LCT-rich oil, such as olive oil, takes hours to process before the energy can be made available.
Whether you need to bounce back after a tough workout or you wish to adhere to a ketogenic diet that prioritizes fat as an energy source, MCT oil is the best choice for your shake. Instead of the crash of sugar and carbs, MCT oil will give you quickly available, long-lasting energy.
Doesn’t Slow Protein Absorption
Because MCTs don’t require stomach enzymes for digestion, adding MCT oil to your shakes won’t slow your digestive processes. This means that your body will process the MCT oil and proteins in your shake quickly.
- Unlike olive oil, MCT oil won’t slow digestion.
- Adding MCT oil to your shake ensures your body will quickly absorb protein.
- Delivering protein to your muscles quickly after a workout aids recovery.
Studies indicate that quick protein absorption reduces recovery time before your next workout and aids in muscle development. Olive oil will slow protein absorption, so leave it out of your shake.
Delivers Good Fats
MCT oil is made up entirely of saturated fats, and that’s a good thing. The building blocks of several key hormones are contained in saturated fats. In fact, your body breaks down saturated fats to produce the hormone testosterone, which aids in muscle building. By adding MCT oil to your shake, you’re providing what your body needs to turn your workout into muscle.
Promotes Better Vitamin Absorption
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are known as “fat-soluble vitamins.” This means the body best absorbs them along with fats. By adding the healthy fat in MCT oil to your diet, you promote better vitamin absorption.
- MCT oil encourages better absorption of several key vitamins.
- MCT oils are linked to better vitamin absorption than LCT oils, such as olive oil.
MCTs have also been scientifically shown to promote better absorption of vitamin E than the LCTs found in olive oil. So, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin along with your MCT-oil-boosted protein shake.
Boosts Liver Health
High volumes of fat stored in the liver can cause severe health problems. However, one study found that substituting MCTs in place of other forms of fat helps reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver. Rather than linger in the liver, MCTs are quickly processed to provide a boost in mental and physical energy. Using MCT oil instead of olive oil provides a host of long-term and short-term health benefits.
How to Add MCT Oil to Your Protein Shake
One tablespoon of MCT oil contains 115 calories. These are calories that your body will readily convert to energy. You can add MCT oil to your shake to receive all the benefits discussed above. Here’s a simple post-workout protein shake recipe:
- 1 cup milk of your choice (dairy, coconut milk, almond milk, etc.)
- ½ cup ice cubes
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 2 tablespoons of this 100% MCT oil
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
This high-protein, high-fat shake is quick and simple. It’s the perfect way to cap off a workout. To get the additional vitamin-absorption benefits of MCT oil, take your daily multivitamin along with your shake.
Can You Put Olive Oil in a Protein Shake
While you can add olive oil to a protein shake, it provides more drawbacks than benefits. The Long Chain Triglycerides that olive oil contains will slow your digestion, hinder protein absorption, and leave you feeling sluggish. Instead of olive oil, add 1–2 tablespoons of MCT oil to your shake. MCT oil is absorbed by your body far more quickly than olive oil. This allows you to receive a boost of energy, deliver protein to your muscles, and recover quickly for your next workout.