Effects of medium-chain fatty acids on body composition and protein metabolism in overweight rats

J Physiol Biochem. 2000 Dec;56(4):337-46. doi: 10.1007/BF03179802.


The lack of efficiency of classical treatments for obesity has led to propose alternative strategies. In order to obtain information about the effects of dietary fatty acid composition on body fat and protein metabolism, overweight female rats were fed on isoenergetic diets, using either medium-chain (MCT) or long-chain (LCT) triglycerides as a lipid source. After 23 days, the MCT group had mildly decreased body weight but greatly reduced adipose tissue depots. All fat depots were significantly diminished. MCT-fed rats showed a decrease in some hormones involved in energy balance, such as leptin and triiodothyronine. Feeding MCT resulted in improvements in nitrogen balance. Muscle protein content was similar in both treatments despite an increase in protein degradation in the MCT group. The present data clearly show that a diet with MCT as lipid fuel depresses weight gain and fat stores, relative to a standard LCT diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Amino Acids / urine
  • Animals
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Nitrogen / metabolism
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Amino Acids
  • Fatty Acids
  • Proteins
  • Nitrogen