Previous studies have suggested that reduction of dietary fat intake, with or without caloric restriction, may lead to improvement in certain of the characteristic abnormalities that accompany total lipodystrophy (TLD). We have studied the effects of eucaloric medium chain triglyceride (MCT) substitution for dietary long chain fatty acids in a patient with acquired total lipodystrophy and unusual somatic and visceral anomalies. The patient exhibited insulin resistance, carbohydrate intolerance, striking fasting- and glucose-stimulated hyperinsulinemia, hyperglucagonemia, type V hyperlipoproteinemia, and lipoprotein lipase deficiency on a normal diet. Improvement in chylomicronemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and xanthomatosis occurred during eucaloric MCT substitution. Carbohydrate intolerance decreased and fasting immunoreactive glucagon and insulin concentrations fell 37% and 83%, respectively. Plasma triglyceride polyunsaturated fatty acid concentrations decreased to very low levels. With long term MCT feeding supplemented by polyunsaturated fatty acids, hepatomegaly has gradually decreased, while body weight has remained stable. The patient has not yet required insulin therapy. These observations suggest that the abnormalities in carbohydrate metabolism are closely linked to, and perhaps dependent on, the abnormalities in lipoprotein transport in TLD. Long chain triglyceride restriction and MCT supplementation should be attempted in additional patients with the features of TLD to determine whether this is a generally effective therapeutic approach.