In this study we compared the effects of specific saturated fatty acids (lauric acid and palmitic acid) with those of a monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) on coagulation and fibrinolytic parameters in healthy women and men. Eighteen women and fourteen men consumed, in random order, three experimental diets, each for six weeks. The diets consisted of solid foods and approximately 70% [28 percent of energy (En%)] of the fat calories was supplied. As determined from duplicate portions, in the lauric acid diet 7.3 En% and in the palmitic acid diet 6.1 En% of oleic acid were exchanged for lauric or palmitic acid, respectively. The lauric acid diet also contained some (average 1.8 En%) more myristic acid. Compared with the oleic acid diet, factor VIIam in the female subjects was 9% higher with the lauric acid diet (P = 0.0036; 95% CI, 3 to 14%) and 10% higher with the palmitic acid diet (P = 0.0011; 95% CI, 5 to 16%). Changes in men were not significant. Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor (PAI-1) activity was higher on the palmitic acid compared with the oleic acid diet (difference between diets of 2.3 U/ml; P = 0.0098; 95% CI, 0.4 to 4.3 U/ml) and the lauric acid diet (difference between diets of 2.2 U/ml; P = 0.0123; 95% CI, 0.2 to 4.1 U/ml). No significant differences between diets were observed for antithrombin III activity, fibrinogen concentrations, fragment 1+2 concentrations, plasminogen or alpha2-antiplasmin activity. From this study, we conclude that diets rich in lauric or palmitic acid, compared with a diet rich in oleic acid, unfavourably influence factor VIIam activity, in a gender specific manner. In addition, the plasminogen activator inhibiting capacity of the plasma is impaired with a palmitic acid rich diet compared with an oleic or lauric acid rich diet.