Effects of feeding early in life a diet high in either long chain (LCT) or medium chain triglyceride (MCT) were studied on the development of adipose tissue in post-weanling rats. The diets were similar in calorie distribution and identical in nutrients except for type of fat. The caloric distribution of the two diets by percent was LCT (corn oil)/protein/carbohydrate, 70/18/12 and MCT/corn oil/protein/carbohydrate, 66/4/18/12. Male littermates with less than 5% weight difference were pair-fed the two diets randomly at age 18-20 days. One-fourth of the rats were killed at 10, 16, 22 and 28 weeks of age and analyzed for adipose depots and adipose tissue cellularity. Results showed that the LCT-fed rats were significantly heavier, with larger epididymal, retroperitoneal, omental and subcutaneous fat pads than the respective pair-fed MCT rats. Also, LCT-fed rats had larger size and number of adipocytes than MCT-fed littermates. It is concluded that the type of fat in the diet, namely LCT or MCT, when fed early in life can influence the development of adipose tissue. MCT appears less lipogenic than LCT. The mechanism for the diminished adiposity of MCT-fed rats is related to extensive oxidation of MCT and its enhancement of thermogenesis leading to lessened energy efficiency.