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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Jun 15;302(12):E1472-82. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00102.2012. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Chronic high-carbohydrate, high-fat feeding in rats induces reversible metabolic, cardiovascular, and liver changes.

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School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.


Age-related physiological changes develop at the same time as the increase in metabolic syndrome in humans after young adulthood. There is a paucity of data in models mimicking chronic diet-induced changes in human middle age and interventions to reverse these changes. This study measured the changes during chronic consumption of a high-carbohydrate (as cornstarch), low-fat (C) diet and a high-carbohydrate (as fructose and sucrose), high-fat (H) diet in rats for 32 wk. C diet feeding induced changes without metabolic syndrome, such as disproportionate increases in total body lean and fat mass, reduced bone mineral content, cardiovascular remodeling with increased systolic blood pressure, left ventricular and arterial stiffness, and increased plasma markers of liver injury. H diet feeding induced visceral adiposity with reduced lean mass, increased lipid infiltration in the skeletal muscle, impaired glucose and insulin tolerance, cardiovascular remodeling, hepatic steatosis, and increased infiltration of inflammatory cells in the heart and the liver. Chia seed supplementation for 24 wk attenuated most structural and functional modifications induced by age or H diet, including increased whole body lean mass and lipid redistribution from the abdominal area, and normalized the chronic low-grade inflammation induced by H diet feeding; these effects may be mediated by increased metabolism of anti-inflammatory n-3 fatty acids from chia seed. These results suggest that chronic H diet feeding for 32 wk mimics the diet-induced cardiovascular and metabolic changes in middle age and that chia seed may serve as an alternative dietary strategy in the management of these changes.

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