Effects of dietary medium-chain triglyceride on weight loss and insulin sensitivity in a group of moderately overweight free-living type 2 diabetic Chinese subjects

Metabolism. 2007 Jul;56(7):985-91. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2007.03.005.


Prior studies of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) suggest that MCT might be a useful tool for body fat mass management in obese nondiabetic humans. We now report a pilot study that tests if MCT is beneficial for moderately overweight subjects with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The study was conducted in a group of 40 free-living subjects in an urban area of China. The subjects were randomized into 2 test groups, with one given MCT and the other corn oil as control for long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). The test oil (18 g/d) was administered as part of daily food intake for 90 days. All subjects completed the study with self-reported full compliance. Body weight, waist circumference (WC), and serum samples were analyzed on days 0, 45, and 90. The MCT group showed an across-time reduction in body weight and WC, an increase in serum C-peptide concentration, a reduction in homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, and a decrease in serum cholesterol concentration (P < .05, repeated measures). No significant across-time difference for the above parameters was detected for the LCT group. These changes were associated with an involuntary reduction in energy intake in the MCT group (P < .05, repeated measures). A between-group comparison also shows reduced body weight, WC, and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance in the MCT group compared with the LCT group at the end of the study. Collectively, our results suggest a link between moderate consumption of MCT and improved risk factors in moderately overweight humans in a low-cost, free-living setting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage*
  • Weight Loss*


  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Dietary Fats
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides