Fifteen healthy young women were fed diets enriched to 4% of energy with either palmitic acid (as palm oil) or lauric acid (as coconut oil). A randomized crossover study design was used so that subjects followed the two experimental diets for 4 wk, both preceded by consumption of a baseline diet for 2 wk. The experimental diets differed only with respect to the fatty acid composition: there was a substitution of 4% of energy intake with palmitic acid or lauric acid in the experimental diets for 4% of energy as monoenes in the baseline diet. There were no differences in the concentration of serum total or lipoprotein lipids, apolipoproteins A-I and B, and lipoprotein (a) or plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity between the experimental diet periods. The VLDL cholesterol concentration (0.38 +/- 0.05 vs. 0.51 +/- 0.05 mmol/L, means +/- SEM, P = 0.01] and plasma cholesteryl ester transfer protein activity [78 +/- 5 vs. 88 +/- 6 mumol/(h.L), P = 0.007) were greater at the end of the lauric acid diet period than at the end of the preceding baseline diet period. No differences were found in glucose effectiveness, insulin sensitivity index or insulin secretion measured by the intravenous glucose tolerance test (Minimal Model method). In conclusion, in terms of serum lipids, lipoproteins, and glucose metabolism, palmitic acid was equal to lauric acid at 4% of total energy intake exchange, and both of these saturated fatty acids were comparable to a 4% of total energy intake exchange with monoenes in healthy young women.