Background. Food selection and ingestion both in humans and rodents, often is a critical factor in determining excess energy intake and its related disorders. Methods. Two different concepts of high-fat diets were tested for their obesogenic effects in rats; in both cases, lipids constituted about 40% of their energy intake. The main difference with controls fed standard lab chow, was, precisely, the lipid content. Cafeteria diets (K) were self-selected diets devised to be desirable to the rats, mainly because of its diverse mix of tastes, particularly salty and sweet. This diet was compared with another, more classical high-fat (HF) diet, devised not to be as tasty as K, and prepared by supplementing standard chow pellets with fat. We also analysed the influence of sex on the effects of the diets. Results. K rats grew faster because of a high lipid, sugar and protein intake, especially the males, while females showed lower weight but higher proportion of body lipid. In contrast, the weight of HF groups were not different from controls. Individual nutrient's intake were analysed, and we found that K rats ingested large amounts of both disaccharides and salt, with scant differences of other nutrients' proportion between the three groups. The results suggest that the key differential factor of the diet eliciting excess energy intake was the massive presence of sweet and salty tasting food. Conclusions. The significant presence of sugar and salt appears as a powerful inducer of excess food intake, more effective than a simple (albeit large) increase in the diet's lipid content. These effects appeared already after a relatively short treatment. The differential effects of sex agree with their different hedonic and obesogenic response to diet.
Oliva, L., Aranda, T., Caviola, G., Fernández-Bernal, A., Alemany, M., Fernández-López, J. A., & Remesar, X. (2017). In rats fed high-energy diets, taste, rather than fat content, is the key factor increasing food intake: A comparison of a cafeteria and a lipid-supplemented standard diet. PeerJ, 2017(9). https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3697