Freely accessible water does not decrease consumption of ethanol liquid diets

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In experimental studies, liquid ethanol diets are usually given as the sole source of nutrition and fluid. Two series of experiments were conducted to examine the effect of freely accessible water on the consumption of ethanol liquid diets in male Long-Evans rats. The consumption of diets and subsequent learning ability of rats were first examined in animals given twice-daily saline injections. One group received diet with no access to water for 12 weeks and was subsequently given free access to water with diets for an additional 12 weeks. A second group was given diet and water ad libitum for 24 weeks. Control animals received an isocaloric sucrose-containing diet (with or without ad libitum access to water). Subsequently, rats were tested for active avoidance learning. In the first 12 weeks, animals with ad libitum access to water drank more diet than did water-restricted animals, and previously water-restricted animals increased their diet consumption when access to water was freely available. All water-restricted animals, in both ethanol- and sucrose-treated groups, showed deficits in active avoidance learning, whereas only ethanol-treated animals in groups with ad libitum access to water showed learning deficits. In the second series of experiments, the effect of saline injections on diet consumption, both in the presence and absence of water, was examined. Although saline injections were associated with decreased diet consumption, there was no effect of free access to water. No differences in blood ethanol concentration were seen among groups. Findings obtained from both series of studies demonstrate that consumption of a Sustacal-based liquid ethanol diet does not decrease if access to water is freely available. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.




De Fiebre, N. E. C., & De Fiebre, C. M. (2003). Freely accessible water does not decrease consumption of ethanol liquid diets. Alcohol, 29(2), 61–68.

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