We tested the hypothesis that, for rats fed a high-fat diet (HFD), a prioritization of maintaining protein intake may increase energy consumption and hence result in obesity, particularly for individuals prone to obesity (“fat sensitive,” FS, vs. “fat resistant,” FR). Male Wistar rats (n = 80) first received 3 wk of HFD (protein 15%, fat 42%, carbohydrate 42%), under which they were characterized as being FS (n = 18) or FR (n = 20) based on body weight gain. They then continued on the same HFD but in which protein (100%) was available separately from the carbohydrate:fat (50:50%) mixture. Under this second regimen, all rats maintained their previous protein intake, whereas intake of fat and carbohydrate was reduced by 50%. This increased protein intake to 26% and decreased fat intake to 37%. Adiposity gain was prevented in both FR and FS rats, and gain in fat-free mass was increased only in FS rats. At the end of the study, the rats were killed 2 h after ingestion of a protein meal, and their tissues and organs were collected for analysis of body composition and measurement of mRNA levels in the liver, adipose tissue, arcuate nucleus, and nucleus accumbens. FS rats had a higher expression of genes encoding enzymes involved in lipogenesis in the liver and white adipose tissue. These results show that FS rats strongly reduced food intake and adiposity gain through macronutrient selection, despite maintenance of a relatively high-fat intake and overexpression of genes favoring lipogenesis.
- high-fat diet
- obesity prone
- protein intake
- protein leverage
- dietary self-selection
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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