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Open Access Research

Dietary restriction, caloric value and the accumulation of hepatic fat

Leandro P Moura*, Gabriella A Figueredo, Natália O Bertolini, Marilia Ceccato, Jessica R Pereira, Amanda Christine S Sponton and Maria Alice R de Mello

Author Affiliations

Department of Physical Education, Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), Avenida 24ª n° 1515, P.O. Box 199, Bela Vista, Rio Claro, Zip code: 13506-900, SP, Brazil

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Lipids in Health and Disease 2012, 11:2  doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-2

Published: 5 January 2012

Abstract

Background

Studies using laboratory animals under what are considered to be "standard" conditions normally offer unrestricted amounts of food to the animals, which can lead to metabolic disorders. Moreover, standard diets have different compositions.

Aim

Therefore, the aim of the present study was to assess the effects of two non-isocaloric diets (commercial Purina® and AIN-93M), which are considered standard diets, on the accumulation of fat in the liver of rats when offered ad libitum or in a restricted amount.

Methods

Thus, 40 Wistar rats (90 days old) were separated into 4 groups according to the amount of food offered (ad libitum or dietary restriction) and the type of diet (commercial diet, 3,028.0 kcal/g or AIN-93M, 3,802.7 kcal/g): animals fed the commercial Purina® diet ad libitum (AP), animals fed restricted amounts of the commercial Purina® diet (RP), animals fed the AIN-93M diet ad libitum (AD), and animals fed restricted amounts of the AIN-93M diet (RD). Dietary restriction consisted of pair-feeding the RP and RD groups with 60% of the total food consumed by the corresponding ad libitum groups.

Results

Because of its higher carbohydrate and calorie content, AIN-93M was found to accelerate weight gain, reduce glucose tolerance and peripheral insulin sensitivity, and increase the amount of fat in the liver when compared to the commercial diet. Conversely, a 40% dietary restriction assisted in weight loss without causing malnutrition, contributing to an improved glucose tolerance and higher levels of HDL cholesterol.

Conclusion

Therefore, differences in the amount of carbohydrates and calories provided by the diet can lead to important metabolic disorders, such as impaired tolerance and accumulation of hepatic fat, and dietary restriction improves serum and tissue lipid profiles in laboratory animals.

Keywords:
Non-isocaloric diets; Dietary restriction; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease