The influence of the type of dietary fat on postprandial fat oxidation rates: monounsaturated (olive oil) vs saturated fat (cream)

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2002 Jun;26(6):814-21. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0801993.


Objective: To compare postprandial whole-body fat oxidation rates in humans, following high-fat (43% of total energy) mixed breakfast meals, of fixed energy and macronutrient composition, rich in either monounsaturated fat (MUFA) from extra virgin olive oil or saturated fat (SFA) from cream.

Design: Paired comparison of resting metabolic rate (RMR), thermic effect of a meal and substrate oxidation rates following consumption of isocaloric breakfast meals, differing only in the type of fat, administered in random order 1-2 weeks apart.

Subjects: Fourteen male volunteers, body mass index (BMI) in the range 20-32 kg/m(2), aged 24-49 y and resident in Melbourne, Australia, were recruited by advertisement in the local media or by personal contact.

Measurements: Body size and composition was determined by anthropometry and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA). Indirect calorimetry was used to measure RMR, thermic effect of a meal, post-meal total energy expenditure and substrate oxidation rate. Blood pressure and pulse rates were measured with an automated oscillometric system. Fasting and 2 h postprandial glucose and insulin concentrations and the fasting lipid profile were also determined.

Results: In the 5 h following the MUFA breakfast, there was a significantly greater postprandial fat oxidation rate (3.08+/-4.58 g/5 h, P=0.017), and lower postprandial carbohydrate oxidation rate (P=0.025), than after the SFA breakfast. Thermic effect of a meal was significantly higher (55 kJ/5 h, P=0.034) after the MUFA breakfast, in subjects with a high waist circumference (HWC > or = 99 cm) than those with a low waist circumference (LWC<99 cm). This difference was not detected following the SFA breakfast (P=0.910).

Conclusion: If postprandial fat oxidation rates are higher after high MUFA, rather than SFA meals, then a simple change to the type of dietary fat consumed might have beneficial effects in curbing weight gain in men consuming a relatively high-fat diet. This may be particularly evident in men with a large waist circumference.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Dairy Products*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fasting
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Olive Oil
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology*
  • Thermogenesis


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils