Thermic effect of medium-chain and long-chain triglycerides in man

Am J Clin Nutr. 1986 Nov;44(5):630-4. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/44.5.630.


The thermic effects of 400 kcal meals of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) and long-chain triglycerides (LCT) were compared in seven healthy men. Metabolic rate was measured before the meals and for 6 h after the meals by indirect calorimetry. Mean postprandial oxygen consumption was 12% higher than basal oxygen consumption after the MCT meal but was only 4% higher than the basal oxygen consumption after the LCT meal. There was a 25-fold increase in plasma beta-hydroxybutyrate concentration and a slight increase in serum insulin concentration after MCT ingestion but not after LCT ingestion. Plasma triglyceride concentrations increased 68% after the LCT meal and did not change after the MCT meal. These data raise the possibility that long-term substitution of MCT for LCT would produce weight loss if energy intake remained constant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Temperature Regulation / drug effects*
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Glycerol / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydroxybutyrates / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Triglycerides / pharmacology*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Glycerol
  • 3-Hydroxybutyric Acid