The effect of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) on the "physiological" steatorrhea of prematurity was studied in 34 infants with birthweights below 2,000 gm. The infants were divided into three groups and fed three formulas identical in nutrient content except for the type of fat, as follows: group 1 (control): corn oil, oleo, and coconut oil (39:41:20); group 2: MCT, corn oil, and coconut oil (40:40:20); group 3: MCT and corn oil (80:20). The infants fed MCT-containing formulas had striking diminution in stool volume and frequency. Their total fat absorption was significantly improved when compared with controls; nitrogen absorption was slightly but significantly improved in the 80% MCT group. The results also suggest that nitrogen sparing may be enhanced in premature infants fed MCT-containing formulas.