MCTs provide a respectable boost in diet-induced thermogenesis (in some studies [eg, Kasai 2002 & Clegg 2012], but not others [Alexandrou 2007]), but I don’t think that’s what does it.
The alternative? MCTs aren’t “linoleate.” (sorry for lack of suspense)
Alcohol + MCTs vs. corn oil (from Kirpich 2013):
Further, feed rats a diet rich in either coconut oil, olive oil, safflower oil, evening primrose oil, or menhaden oil… and eventually the fat stored in their bodies reflect those fats – eg, linoleate only accumulated in the tissues of those fed safflower & evening primrose oils (Yaqoob 1995) (expect similar results with soybean & corn oils).
Researchers constantly refer to MCTs & coconut oil as “saturated fats,” but I always thought the chain length should be recognized. Perhaps. But with regard to certain benefits (eg, hepatoprotection), perhaps not.
Cacao butter has a lot of stearate (a fully saturated 18-carbon fatty acid) but not much linoleate or MCTs. This linoleate may very well be more of a detriment than stearate or MCTs are a benefit… (with regard to certain benefits [eg, hepatoprotection])
(Leslie Roberts, 1988) (she’s talking about stearate)