Medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) have been proposed as weight-lowering agents, although there is some concern regarding their hyperlipidemic effect. This study evaluates the effects of a combination of MCT oil, phytosterols and flaxseed oil [functional oil (FctO)] on plasma lipid concentrations and LDL particle size. Twenty-four healthy overweight men (body mass index 28.2 +/- 0.4 kg/m(2)) consumed controlled diets designed to maintain weight for two periods of 29 d each. Diets contained 40% of energy as fat, 75% of which was added fat, either FctO or olive oil (OL). Body composition and blood samples were analyzed at the baseline and the endpoint of each period. Total cholesterol concentration decreased 12.5% (-0.68 mmol/L; P < 0.05) when subjects consumed FctO and 4.7% when they consumed OL. Similarly, FctO consumption lowered LDL cholesterol concentrations by 13.9%, whereas OL consumption did not. There was no difference in absolute change in LDL-cholesterol between FctO and OL consumption. Peak LDL particle size was greater in those who consumed FctO than in those who consumed OL (P < 0.05), with no effect of diet on proportion of large, medium or small particles. We conclude that those who consume a diet containing FctO have a better lipid profile than those who consume a diet rich in OL, which also leads to a larger lipoprotein particle size. Functional oil consumption can therefore help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.