The influence of a purified rat diet containing 20 or 33% of the saturated medium chain-length triglycerides (MCT) with and without linoleic acid supplements on growth, caloric requirements for weight maintenance and weight increase, fertility, lactation performance, and serum cholesterol levels was compared with that of similar diets containing lard, coconut oil, or no fat.
Among male rats maintained on diets containing 20% lard or 20% MCT and .09% linoleic acid for 18 months no differences were observed between the groups other than the depressed body weight and lowered serum cholesterol levels of the group fed MCT. When groups of male rats were kept at constant weight by the daily restricted feeding of diets containing lard, MCT, or coconut oil or no fat plus 2% linoleic acid, the weight-maintenance requirements of the group fed MCT were higher than of those on lard and coconut oil and even somewhat higher than the requirements of the animals fed the fat-free diet. The requirements for weight increase over those for maintenance were 0.9 g. per gram increase for all diets. Additional linoleic acid in the MCT diet decreased the weight and maintenance differences between groups fed MCT and lard.
The lactation performance of mothers on MCT plus .09% linoleic acid was poor. The second generation animals initially showed signs of more severe linoleic acid deficiency which however disaappeared without linoleic acid supplements.
Some cholesterol levels of animals on MCT were significantly below those of groups on lard. Addition of linoleic acid to the MCT diet did not change the results.
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Kaunitz, H., Slanetz, C.A., Johnson, R.E. et al. Nutritional properties of the triglycerides of saturated fatty acids of medium chain-length. J Am Oil Chem Soc 35, 10–13 (1958). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02582731