Diacylglycerol: New Cooking/Salad Oil May Offer Potential for Easy Loss of a Few Pounds

The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 6 No. 1 • February 2003

Diacylglycerol: New Cooking/Salad Oil May Offer Potential for Easy Loss of a Few Pounds

We have been following the development of a diacylglycerol (DAG) oil in scientific papers and in trade and marketing publications as it has been readied for release in the United States during the past couple of years. Diacylglycerol is a form of long-chain fatty acid esters naturally found in edible oils; the big difference is that diacylglycerols have only two fatty acids per fat molecule, as compared to triacylglycerols (TAG), the most commonly found fats, which have three fatty acids per fat molecule. Natural fats are made up of a glycerol backbone, where the three hydroxyl groups of the glycerol are either each bonded to a fatty acid (TAG), or in which two hydroxyl groups are bonded to a fatty acid (DAG), or where only one hydroxyl group is bonded to a fatty acid (monoglycerides). Because DAG has one less fatty acid than TAG, pure DAG has only about 2/3 of the caloric content of pure TAG. Natural edible oils contain various combinations of TAG and DAG.

Moreover, DAG oil is metabolized differently than TAG. For example, postprandial hypertriglyceridemia (elevated fat in the blood following a meal) was reduced by DAG as compared to TAG in a study of a single ingestion of a lipid emulsion by healthy men.1 In an animal study2 of C57BL/6J mice fed a high-DAG or high-TAG diet, the researchers analyzed the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism at an early stage of obesity development in these mice. They found that the differential effects of DAG may be related to its stimulating effects on intestinal lipid metabolism. In another mouse study,3 researchers found that obesity-prone C57BL/6J mice fed a high-TAG diet for five months had significant increases in body weight, visceral fat accumulation, and circulating insulin and leptin levels compared with mice fed the control diet (5% TAG). Compared with the mice fed the high-TAG diet, the mice fed the high-DAG diet had body weight gain and visceral fat weight reduced by 70% and 79%, respectively. Moreover, circulating leptin and insulin levels were reduced to control levels.

Last year, in a randomized, double blind study, overweight or obese men and women were given food products containing either DAG or TAG, having the same overall fatty acid composition and incorporated into a reduced-energy diet, for 24 weeks4. By the end of the trial, body weight had decreased 3.6% (DAG) and 2.5% (TAG), and fat mass decreased 8.3% (DAG) and 5.6% (TAG). In an earlier double-blind, controlled study,5 38 healthy men (aged 27–49) completed the study. After a run-in period, the subjects were divided into two groups. One group consumed test meals containing DAG-rich oil (10 g/d; actual lipid intake was 43 g/d). The other group received TAG oil. Visceral fat and subcutaneous fat in the abdomen decreased significantly from baseline only in the DAG group. Kao Corporation of Japan first discovered this oil about 15 years ago, when the company was looking for an oil that was more easily digested. The weight loss was an unexpected discovery that resulted from this research. The DAG oil was introduced into Japan in 1999 for weight loss and has been extremely successful, now being the top-selling cooking/salad oil in Japan, with over 80,000,000 bottles sold. Kao formed a partnership with ADM, and ADM has now introduced the oil into the United States as ENOVA, debuting in test markets in Chicago and Atlanta in January 2003. Cleverly, they have priced the oil higher than soybean oil but slightly less than olive oil. The oil is being sold here under the slogan, “Don’t change the way you eat, change your oil.”6 The oil has undergone “all kinds of safety tests in adults, children, people with renal problems, and diabetics,” says Tony DeLio, ADM’s corporate vice president for marketing and external affairs.7

The weight-loss claims (lose one or two pounds a year) are being kept conservative, not only to avoid disappointing consumers but also because individuals are different and because use of the oil may be intermittent or inconsistent.

Because diacylglycerol is an important signaling molecule, it is a good idea to keep an eye on ongoing research, as we are, that is being done to uncover the mechanisms for DAG-induced weight loss and to detect any possible undesirable effects. Not surprisingly, much of this research has been and is being done by Japanese scientists.


  1. Matsuo and Tokimitsu. Metabolic characteristics of diacylglycerol. Inform 12:1098-1102 (2001).
  2. Murase et al. Anti-obesity effect of dietary diacylglycerol in C57BL/6J mice: dietary diacylglycerol stimulates intestinal lipid metabolism. J Lipid Res 43:1312-9 (2002).
  3. Murase et al. Dietary diacylglycerol suppresses high fat and high sucrose diet-induced body fat accumulation in C57BL/6J mice. J Lipid Res 42:372-8 (2001).
  4. Maki et al. Consumption of diacylglycerol oil as part of a reduced-energy diet enhances loss of body weight and fat in comparison with consumption of a triacylglycerol control oil. Am J Clin Nutr 76:1230-6 (2002).
  5. Nagao et al. Dietary diacylglycerol suppresses accumulation of body fat compared to triacylglycerol in men in a double-blind controlled trial. J Nutr 130:792-7 (2000).
  6. Dahm. When losing is winning: a revolutionary oil from ADM can help consumers lose a few pounds. STAGNITO’S New Products Magazine, January 2003, pp 26-27.
  7. Watkins. Time for an oil change? Inform 14:70 (2003).

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