Physiological Effects of Medium-Chain Triglycerides: Potential Agents in the Prevention of Obesity1
School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, Canada, H9X 3V9
2To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) are readily oxidized in the liver. Animal and human studies have shown that the fast rate of oxidation of MCFA leads to greater energy expenditure (EE). Most animal studies have also demonstrated that the greater EE with MCFA relative to long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) results in less body weight gain and decreased size of fat depots after several months of consumption. Furthermore, both animal and human trials suggest a greater satiating effect of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) compared with long-chain triglycerides (LCT). The aim of this review is to evaluate existing data describing the effects of MCT on EE and satiety and determine their potential efficacy as agents in the treatment of human obesity. Animal studies are summarized and human trials more systematically evaluated because the primary focus of this article is to examine the effects of MCT on human energy metabolism and satiety. Hormones including cholescytokinin, peptide YY, gastric inhibitory peptide, neurotensin and pancreatic polypeptide have been proposed to be involved in the mechanism by which MCT may induce satiety; however, the exact mechanisms have not been established. From the literature reviewed, we conclude that MCT increase energy expenditure, may result in faster satiety and facilitate weight control when included in the diet as a replacement for fats containing LCT.