The effect of calorie intake, fasting, and dietary composition on metabolic health and gut microbiota in mice

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Background: Calorie restriction (CR) and intermittent fasting (IF) can promote metabolic health through a process that is partially mediated by gut microbiota modulation. To compare the effects of CR and IF with different dietary structures on metabolic health and the gut microbiota, we performed an experiment in which mice were subjected to a CR or IF regimen and an additional IF control (IFCtrl) group whose total energy intake was not different from that of the CR group was included. Each regimen was included for normal chow and high-fat diet. Results: We showed that in normal-chow mice, the IFCtrl regimen had similar positive effects on glucose and lipid metabolism as the CR regimen, but the IF regimen showed almost no influence compared to the outcomes observed in the ad libitum group. IF also resulted in improvements, but the effects were less marked than those associate with CR and IFCtrl when the mice were fed a high-fat diet. Moreover, CR created a stable and unique gut microbial community, while the gut microbiota shaped by IF exhibited dynamic changes in fasting-refeeding cycles. At the end of each cycle, the gut microbiota of the IFCtrl mice was similar to that of the CR mice, and the gut microbiota of the IF mice was similar to that of the ad libitum group. When the abundance of Lactobacillus murinus OTU2 was high, the corresponding metabolic phenotype was improved regardless of eating pattern and dietary structure, which might be one of the key bacterial groups in the gut microbiota that is positively correlated with metabolic amelioration. Conclusion: There are interactions among the amount of food intake, the diet structure, and the fasting time on metabolic health. The structure and composition of gut microbiota modified by dietary regimens might contribute to the beneficial effects on the host metabolism.




Zhang, Z., Chen, X., Loh, Y. J., Yang, X., & Zhang, C. (2021). The effect of calorie intake, fasting, and dietary composition on metabolic health and gut microbiota in mice. BMC Biology, 19(1).

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