Solid fats are used in food manufacturing to provide texture and firmness to foods. Such fats are rich in either saturated or trans-fatty acids, both of which increase the risk of coronary heart disease. Epidemiological and experimental studies suggest that trans-fatty acids increase risk more than do saturates because they lower serum high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. However, there appear to be differences between saturates in their effect on HDL cholesterol. We investigated whether the consumption of a solid fat rich in lauric acid (C12:0) would result in a more favorable blood lipid profile than the consumption of a solid fat rich in trans-fatty acids. We fed 32 healthy men and women two controlled diets in a 2 x 4-wk randomized crossover design. The diets consisted of a background diet supplemented with margarines. In the trans-diet, 9.2% of energy was provided by trans-fatty acids and 12.9% by saturated fatty acids. In the Sat-diet, energy intake was 0% from trans-fatty acids and 22.9% from saturated fatty acids. Lauric acid composed one third of all saturates in the Sat-diet. Serum HDL cholesterol was 0.36 mmol/L lower at the end of the trans-diet than at the end of the Sat-diet (95% confidence interval, -0.46 to -0.26), whereas serum low density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations remained stable. Serum total cholesterol was 0.31 mmol/L (95% confidence interval, -0.48 to -0.14) lower at the end of the trans-diet than at the end of the Sat-diet. Consumption of a solid fat rich in lauric acid gives a more favorable serum lipoprotein pattern than consumption of partially hydrogenated soybean oil rich in trans-fatty acids. Thus, solid fats rich in lauric acids, such as tropical fats, appear to be preferable to trans-fats in food manufacturing, where hard fats are indispensable.