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Physiol Behav. 2003 Sep;79(4-5):695-700.

A carbohydrate diet rich in sucrose increased insulin and WAT in macronutrient self-selecting rats.

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UMR INRA/INAPG 914 Physiologie de la Nutrition et du Comportement Alimentaire, Institut National Agronomique de Paris-Grignon, 16, rue Claude Bernard, 75231 Paris 05, France.


In order to evaluate the influence of a carbohydrate (CHO) diet rich in sucrose (37%) on food choice and body composition, Wistar rats received a food selection diet (protein, CHO, fat) from the time of weaning to 13 weeks of age. Three groups of animals were examined: the first received a CHO diet containing 37% sucrose; the second, a diet containing only 10% sucrose; and the third, control group, received a complete standard diet (14% protein, 72% CHO including 10% sucrose). Food intakes and body weight (BW) were recorded four times a week. No differences in total food intake were observed between the two self-selecting groups and the control group, and no differences were observed between the two self-selecting groups in terms of their protein intake (about 45% of the total calorie intake). The latter groups modified their selections during the 10-week period, but the variations were similar. BW gain in the 37% group was lower but the white adipose tissue (WAT)/total BW ratio was significantly higher than those seen in the control and 10% groups. Insulinemia was higher in 37% and control groups. In conclusion, the high preferences for protein and fat were identical, whatever the CHO diet composition. The sucrose level in the diet was an essential factor for the development of hyperinsulinemia, leptin resistance and thus a higher prevalence of obesity. These results confirm the importance of the quality of CHO sources in the diet.

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