BACKGROUND & AIMS: Fasting and postprandial hypertriacylglycerolemia are important cardiovascular risk factors in women. We sought to examine the effects of acute (1 day), moderate ( approximately 2 MJ) energy deficit induced by calorie restriction, exercise, or combination of both on fasting and postprandial triacylglycerol (TAG) metabolism in women. METHODS: Six healthy premenopausal women performed four oral fat tolerance tests in the morning after a day of a) rest (control), b) calorie restriction ( approximately 2 MJ), c) exercise (net deficit of approximately 2 MJ) and d) calorie restriction-plus-exercise (total energy deficit of approximately 2 MJ). RESULTS: All energy deficit trials significantly reduced fasting and postprandial total plasma TAG concentrations by 15-23% and 12-23%, respectively, and triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein TAG concentrations by 37-43% and 25-39%, respectively, compared with the control condition (P<0.05). Postprandial, but not fasting, total TAG concentrations were approximately 12% lower after exercise compared with diet-induced energy deficit (P=0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Acute, moderate energy deficit independently of its origin (i.e. diet or exercise or combination of both) reduces fasting and postprandial triacylglycerolemia in women. Exercise elicits a somewhat greater effect than calorie restriction in the postprandial state. The acute effect of diet and exercise should be taken into account when studying the long-term effects of weight loss and exercise training on TAG metabolism.