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Impact of Free-Choice Diets High in Fat and Different Sugars on Metabolic Outcome and Anxiety-Like Behavior in Rats

Journal article
Authors Fiona Peris-Sampedro
Myriam Mounib
Erik Schéle
Christian Edvardsson
Iris Stoltenborg
Roger A. H. Adan
Suzanne L. Dickson
Published in Obesity
Volume 27
Issue 3
Pages 409-419
ISSN 1930-7381
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 409-419
Language en
Keywords brown adipose-tissue, insulin-resistance, induced obesity, consumption, glucose, foxc2, model
Subject categories Physiology


Objective Rats were exposed to free-choice diets (fat plus one of two different sugar solutions, glucose or sucrose), and the metabolic consequences and impact on locomotor activity and anxiety-like behavior were explored. Methods For 3 weeks, 7-week-old male rats were offered either chow only or free-choice high-fat diets differing in their added sugar: no sugar, sucrose, or glucose. In a second experiment, after 2 weeks on the diets, rats were switched from high sucrose to high glucose for two additional weeks. Metabolic end points included body weight, food intake, food choice, glycemic control, metabolic hormones, fat pad weight, brown adipose tissue weight, and gene expression. Behavioral analysis included locomotor and anxiety-like activity in the open field and elevated plus maze. Results Both sugar diets enhanced adiposity and induced hyperphagia, favoring unhealthier dietary selection above that of the control diets (chow or free-choice high-fat with no sugar). Despite isocaloric intake in the sugar-containing diets, offering glucose instead of sucrose was associated with improved insulin sensitivity. The sugar-containing diets reduced activity (but with movements of increased velocity) and induced an anxiety-like phenotype. Conclusions Although free-choice diets negatively impacted on metabolism and anxiety-like behavior, replacing sucrose with glucose improved insulin sensitivity and may therefore be better for health.

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