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Physiol Behav. 1998 Dec 1;65(3):545-53.

Limited access to a dietary fat option affects ingestive behavior but not body composition in male rats.

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Nutrition Department, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.


Restricting access to high-fat foods is a common strategy utilized to promote health. This strategy may contribute to episodes of overconsumption, however, when the restricted foods subsequently become available. The present study utilized a rat feeding procedure to determine if restricting access to an optional source of dietary fat would increase later consumption of that food under nonenergy-deprived conditions. Five groups of male Sprague-Dawley rats were used, all of which had continuous access to a standard rodent diet and water. The control group had no access to shortening. The low-restriction group had 2-h access to shortening every day. The high-restriction group had 2-h access to shortening on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Two additional groups were switched between the high and low conditions. Two-hour and 24-h food intakes were measured every day for 6 weeks. At the end of the study rats were sacrificed and carcass composition determined. As access to the shortening decreased, consumption during the 2-h access period increased. Rats compensated for the increased shortening consumption by decreasing intake of the standard diet. Thus, cumulative energy consumption did not differ among the groups. When switched between the high and low conditions, rats rapidly adjusted to the change in shortening availability. There were no effects of access schedule on carcass composition. These results indicate that restricting access to an optional high-fat food, even under nonenergy-deprived conditions, can promote significant increases in the consumption of that food when it subsequently becomes available.

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