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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Oct 14;57(19):8844-51. doi: 10.1021/jf901548e.

Failure to ferment dietary resistant starch in specific mouse models of obesity results in no body fat loss.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808, USA.


Resistant starch (RS) is a fermentable fiber that decreases dietary energy density and results in fermentation in the lower gut. The current studies examined the effect of RS on body fat loss in mice. In a 12 week study (study 1), the effect of two different types of RS on body fat was compared with two control diets (0% RS) in C57Bl/6J mice: regular control diet or the control diet that had energy density equal to that of the RS diet (EC). All testing diets had 7% (w/w) dietary fat. In a 16 week study (study 2), the effect of RS on body fat was compared with EC in C57BL/6J mice and two obese mouse models (NONcNZO10/LtJ or Non/ShiLtJ). All mice were fed control (0% RS) or 30% RS diet for 6 weeks with 7% dietary fat. On the seventh week, the dietary fat was increased to 11% for half of the mice and remained the same for the rest. Body weight, body fat, energy intake, energy expenditure, and oral glucose tolerance were measured during the study. At the end of the studies, the pH of cecal contents was measured as an indicator of RS fermentation. Compared with EC, dietary RS decreased body fat and improved glucose tolerance in C57BL/6J mice but not in obese mice. For other metabolic characteristics measured, the alterations by RS diet were similar for all three types of mice. The difference in dietary fat did not interfere with these results. The pH of cecal contents in RS fed mice was decreased for C57BL/6J mice but not for obese mice, implying the impaired RS fermentation in obese mice.


(1) decreased body fat by RS is not simply due to dietary energy dilution in C57Bl/6J mice, and (2) along with their inability to ferment RS, RS fed obese mice did not lose body fat. Thus, colonic fermentation of RS might play an important role in the effect of RS on fat loss.

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