No effect of saturated fatty acid chain length on meal-induced thermogenesis in overweight men

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Monounsaturated (MUFA) fatty acids have been shown to induce greater meal-induced thermogenesis (MIT) than saturated fatty acids (SFA) in some studies, however, the effect of SFA chain length has not been examined. We hypothesized that a meal rich in short- to medium-chain SFA would elicit a greater MIT than one rich in long-chain SFA, and that MIT responses would be comparable between the short- to medium-chain SFA and the MUFA rich meal. A 3-arm crossover study was conducted with healthy overweight men, aged 18 to 40 years. Participants consumed either an iso-energetic (3780 ± 4.3 kJ), high fat (45%) meal rich in short-/medium-chain SFA (SMCSFA) (2-12 carbons); long-chain SFA (LCSFA) (14-24 carbons), and MUFA. MIT, fat oxidation, triglyceride and subjective appetite were measured for 6 hours post-prandial. Data were analyzed as total area under the curve and compared using a one-way repeated-measures ANOVA. The mean BMI of participants (n =13) was 29.3 ± 0.6 kg/m2 and mean age 23.8±1.4 years. MIT was not different between the meals: MUFA (204.2 ± 20.5 kJ/6 h), SMCSFA (192.6 ± 21.8 kJ/6 h), LCSFA (198.1 ± 21.5 kJ/6 h) (P =.888). Fat oxidation, plasma triglyceride, and hunger and fullness were similar after each meal (P >.05 all values). This study demonstrated that in healthy overweight men, SFA chain length, and fatty acid saturation have no acute differential effect on MIT, fat oxidation, triglyceride, or subjective appetite responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-110
Number of pages9
JournalNutrition Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Dietary fats
  • Energy metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Postprandial period
  • Thermogenesis

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