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Nutrients 2017, 9(6), 587; doi:10.3390/nu9060587

A High-Protein Diet Reduces Weight Gain, Decreases Food Intake, Decreases Liver Fat Deposition, and Improves Markers of Muscle Metabolism in Obese Zucker Rats

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA
2
Center for Poultry Excellence, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA
3
Department of Food Science, Institute of Food Science and Engineering, Center for Human Nutrition, Division of Agriculture, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 10 May 2017 / Accepted: 1 June 2017 / Published: 8 June 2017
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Abstract

A primary factor in controlling and preventing obesity is through dietary manipulation. Diets higher in protein have been shown to improve body composition and metabolic health during weight loss. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of a high-protein diet versus a moderate-protein diet on muscle, liver and fat metabolism and glucose regulation using the obese Zucker rat. Twelve-week old, male, Zucker (fa/fa) and lean control (Fa/fa) rats were randomly assigned to either a high-protein (40% energy) or moderate-protein (20% energy) diet for 12 weeks, with a total of four groups: lean 20% protein (L20; n = 8), lean 40% protein (L40; n = 10), obese 20% protein (O20; n = 8), and obese 40% protein (O40; n = 10). At the end of 12 weeks, animals were fasted and euthanized. There was no difference in food intake between L20 and L40. O40 rats gained less weight and had lower food intake (p < 0.05) compared to O20. O40 rats had lower liver weight (p < 0.05) compared to O20. However, O40 rats had higher orexin (p < 0.05) levels compared to L20, L40 and O20. Rats in the L40 and O40 groups had less liver and muscle lipid deposition compared to L20 and L40 diet rats, respectively. O40 had decreased skeletal muscle mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) phosphorylation and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) mRNA expression compared to O20 (p < 0.05), with no difference in 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E binding protein 1 (4EBP1), protein kinase B (Akt) or p70 ribosomal S6 kinase (p70S6K) phosphorylation. The data suggest that high-protein diets have the potential to reduce weight gain and alter metabolism, possibly through regulation of an mTORC1-dependent pathway in skeletal muscle. View Full-Text
Keywords: protein; diabetes; obesity; muscle; liver; body composition; diet protein; diabetes; obesity; muscle; liver; body composition; diet
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MDPI and ACS Style

French, W.W.; Dridi, S.; Shouse, S.A.; Wu, H.; Hawley, A.; Lee, S.-O.; Gu, X.; Baum, J.I. A High-Protein Diet Reduces Weight Gain, Decreases Food Intake, Decreases Liver Fat Deposition, and Improves Markers of Muscle Metabolism in Obese Zucker Rats. Nutrients 2017, 9, 587.

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