Medium chain triglyceride oil consumption as part of a weight loss diet does not lead to an adverse metabolic profile when compared to olive oil

J Am Coll Nutr. 2008 Oct;27(5):547-52. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2008.10719737.


Objective: Medium chain triglyceride (MCT) consumption may have a beneficial impact on weight management, however, some studies point to a negative impact of MCT oil consumption on cardiovascular disease risk. This study examined the effects of MCT oil consumption, as part of a weight loss diet, on metabolic risk profile compared to olive oil.

Design: Thirty-one men and women, age 19-50 y and body mass index 27-33 kg/m(2), completed this randomized, controlled, 16-week weight loss program. Oils were consumed at a level of approximately 12% of the subjects' prescribed energy intakes in the form of muffins and liquid oil.

Results: After controlling for body weight, there was a significant effect of time on fasting serum glucose (P = 0.0177) and total cholesterol (P = 0.0386) concentrations, and on diastolic blood pressure (P = 0.0413), with reductions in these variables occurring over time; there was no time-by-diet interaction for any of the parameters studied. Two of the 3 subjects in the MCT oil group with evidence of the metabolic syndrome at baseline did not have metabolic syndrome at endpoint. In the olive oil group, 6 subjects had the metabolic syndrome at baseline; 2 subjects no longer had metabolic syndrome at endpoint, 1 person developed metabolic syndrome, and 4 subjects did not have any change in their metabolic syndrome status.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that MCT oil can be incorporated into a weight loss program without fear of adversely affecting metabolic risk factors. Distinction should be made regarding chain length when it comes to discussing the effects of saturated fats on metabolic risk factors.

Trial registration: NCT00529919.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose
  • Blood Pressure
  • Diet, Reducing*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Olive Oil
  • Overweight / complications
  • Overweight / diet therapy*
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Oils / adverse effects
  • Racial Groups
  • Triglycerides / administration & dosage*
  • Triglycerides / adverse effects
  • Weight Loss


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids
  • Insulin
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Triglycerides

Associated data