The effects on body fat accumulation of long-term feeding of high fat diets of differing fatty acid composition were studied in rats. The rats were meal-fed isoenergetic diets based on safflower oil or beef tallow for 4 mo. Each diet was freshly prepared every day throughout the experimental period. Oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production for 6 h after meals were measured between the 50th and 54th d of the experimental period. Oxygen consumption for 3 h after meals was significantly greater in the safflower oil diet group than in the beef tallow diet group, indicating greater diet-induced thermogenesis in the former group. From the assessment of respiratory quotient, the fat oxidation rate was also higher in the former. After the experimental period (4 mo), body fat accumulation was significantly less in the rats fed safflower oil. This difference was, at least in part, ascribed to increased diet-induced thermogenesis and fat oxidation. Serum triacylglycerol level was markedly lower in the rats fed safflower oil than in those fed beef tallow. The lipoprotein lipase activities in heart and soleus muscle after meals appeared to be higher in the former than in the latter. These results suggest that the consumption of the safflower oil diet increased lipoprotein lipase activity in heart and skeletal muscle, resulting in the elevation of fat oxidation rate and the depression of serum triacylglycerol level.