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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2017 Mar;61(3). doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201600387. Epub 2016 Nov 29.

Impact of red meat consumption on the metabolome of rats.

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Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Laboratory for animal nutrition and animal product quality, Department of Animal Production, Ghent University, Melle, Belgium.



The scope of the present study was to investigate the effects of red versus white meat intake on the metabolome of rats.


Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to 15 days of ad libitum feeding of one of four experimental diets: (i) lean chicken, (ii) chicken with lard, (iii) lean beef, and (iv) beef with lard. Urine, feces, plasma, and colon tissue samples were analyzed using 1 H NMR-based metabolomics and real-time PCR was performed on colon tissue to examine the expression of specific genes. Urinary excretion of acetate and anserine was higher after chicken intake, while carnosine, fumarate, and trimethylamine N-oxide excretion were higher after beef intake. In colon tissue, higher choline levels and lower lipid levels were found after intake of chicken compared to beef. Expression of the apc gene was higher in response to the lean chicken and beef with lard diets. Correlation analysis revealed that intestinal apc gene expression was correlated with fecal lactate content (R2 = 0.65).


This study is the first to identify specific differences in the metabolome related to the intake of red and white meat. These differences may reflect perturbations in endogenous metabolism that can be linked to the proposed harmful effects associated with intake of red meat.


Anserine; Carnosine; Gene expression; NMR Metabolomics; Trimethylamine-N-Oxide (TMAO)

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