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Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women


OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of medium chain triglycerides (MCT) vs long chain triglycerides (LCT) feeding on exogenous and endogenous oxidation of long chain saturated fatty acids (LCSFA) in women.

SUBJECTS: Twelve healthy female subjects (age 19–26 y, body mass index (BMI) 17.5–28.6 kg/m2)

DESIGN AND MEASUREMENTS: In a randomized cross-over design, subjects were fed weight maintenance diets providing 15%, 45% and 40% of energy as protein, carbohydrate and fat, respectively, with 80% of this fat comprising either a combination of butter and coconut oil (MCT) or beef tallow (LCT). Following 6 days of feeding, subjects were given daily oral doses of 1-13C labelled-myristic, -palmitic and -stearic acids for 8 days. Expired 13CO2 was used as an index of LCSFA oxidation with CO2 production assessed by respiratory gas exchange.

RESULTS: No difference in exogenous LCSFA oxidation was observed as a function of diet on day 7. On day 14, greater combined cumulative fractional LCSFA oxidation (16.9±2.5%/5.5 h vs 9.1±1.2%/5.5 h, P<0.007), net LCSFA oxidation (2956±413 mg/5.5 h vs 1669±224 mg/5.5 h, P<0.01), and percentage dietary LCSFA contribution to total fat oxidation (16.3±2.3%/5.5 h vs 9.5±1.5%/5.5 h; P<0.01) were observed in women fed the MCT vs LCT diet. With the MCT diet, but not the LCT diet, combined cumulative fractional LCSFA oxidation (P<0.03), net LCSFA oxidation (P<0.03), and percentage dietary LCSFA contribution to total fat oxidation (P<0.02) were increased at day 14 as compared to day 7. Day 14 results indicated increased endogenous LCSFA oxidation during MCT feeding.

CONCLUSION: The capacity of MCT to increase endogenous oxidation of LCSFA suggests a role for MCT in body weight control over the long term.

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The authors would like to thank Jayne Rop for her technical assistance. This work was supported by a grant from the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

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Papamandjaris, A., White, M., Raeini-Sarjaz, M. et al. Endogenous fat oxidation during medium chain versus long chain triglyceride feeding in healthy women. Int J Obes 24, 1158–1166 (2000).

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  • medium chain fatty acids
  • long chain saturated fatty acids
  • fat oxidation
  • 13C breath test
  • humans

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