Is dietary fat burned before stored fat on a ketogenic diet?

By Dr. Stephen Phinney and the Virta Team

Certain fats, like medium-chain triglycerides found in coconut or MCT oil cannot be stored in body fat, so whatever is consumed must be promptly burned for energy. This means that if you’re adding these fats on top of your dietary fat consumption for satiety, this type of fat takes priority.

For regular dietary fats, once they are digested, they enter the circulation and participate in what is called ‘fatty acid turnover.’ Whether fed or fasted, the body is always releasing, burning, and storing fat. When insulin is high, storage predominates, but turnover continues. When insulin is low, release and oxidation predominate. If you eat fat along with a lot of carbohydrates, it is prone to be stored. When fat is consumed in the context of a well formulated ketogenic diet, it — along with fat released from adipose stores — is prone to be burned. But once digested and absorbed, dietary fat and stored fat enter the ‘turnover pool’ and are in a constant state of mixing.

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