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Keywords:

  • medium-chain fatty acids;
  • dietary intake;
  • body weight;
  • laboratory animals;
  • lipids

Summary

The use of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) has been studied for years in an attempt to elucidate their effects in food intake and body weight in animals. The aim of this study was to determine whether there is evidence that the use of MCT reduces consumption and body weight gain in rats, a species chosen as it has been widely used as an animal model in different surveys. A search of scientific work was performed in November 2011 on two bases: ‘Web of Science’ and ‘PubMed’. The terms sample size and homogeneity, randomisation, food consumption and weight gain, body composition, enzyme activity and hormonal activity in rats were used as selection criteria. Thirteen papers were selected after the refinement of the research. Twelve studies measured weight gain and among these, seven detected a decrease in weight gain and five found no differences. Twelve papers also measured food intake and among these, four detected a decrease in consumption, one detected an increase and seven found no differences. Based on established criteria for the ranking of scientific papers, it is concluded that there is strong evidence that MCTs can effectively reduce the consumption and subsequent weight gain of animals. However, in the long term, there may not be differences in results depending on the phenotypic adaptation of animals to a new metabolic condition.