The objectives of the study were to investigate the effects of caffeic acid, ascorbyl palmitate and gamma-tocopherol on protection of fish oil-enriched energy bars against lipid oxidation during storage for 10 weeks at room temperature. The lipophilic gamma-tocopherol reduced lipid oxidation during storage when added at a concentration above 440 mu g/g fish oil. However, the best antioxidative effect was observed when it was added at a concentration of 660 mu g/g fish oil. In contrast, prooxidative effects were observed when using either gamma-tocopherol at concentrations below 220 mu g/g fish oil, or the hydrophilic caffeic acid, or the amphiphilic ascorbyl palmitate at concentrations of 75, 150 and 300 mu g/g fish oil. Prooxidative effects were observed as an increase in the formation of lipid hydroperoxides and volatile secondary oxidation products, as well as the development of rancid off-flavours. The differences in the efficacies of the three antioxidants examined are expected to be related to their different localisations and mechanisms of action. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.