Nutritional influences on dietary selection patterns of obese and lean Zucker rats

Thomas W. Castonguay, Neil E. Rowland, Judith S. Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Little is known about the behavioral, nutritional, and metabolic events that control dietary intake quality. Two experiments are described that manipulate nutritional conditions that have been hypothesized to affect dietary item choice so as to assess what effect, if any, the added factor of genetic obesity has in modifying the response to these manipulations. In the first experiment, 5 week old male obese and lean Zucker rats were fed a diet that varied in protein content (10%, 20%, or 60% casein by weight) for ten weeks. They were then allowed to select a diet from three separate macronutrient sources (casein, starch, or corn oil). Although body weights at the end of the 10 week maintenance period were markedly different, selection patterns were not influenced by pre-feeding different levels of protein. Obese rats selected a diet that was higher in fat and lower in protein than the diets composed by lean rats. In the second experiment, four groups of 7 month old obese and lean Zucker rats were given access to one of four diets that varied in protein content (5%, 10%, 15%, or 20% casein by weight). In addition, each rat was periodically given access to a 32% sucrose solution. Access to sucrose promoted increases in total caloric intake, independent of the protein content of the diet. Obese rats typically ate more calories per day than did their lean littermates. Results from these experiments suggest that food item selection is determined more by factors associated with obesity than by factors associated with dietary history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-631
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1985


  • Adrenalectomy
  • Caloric regulation
  • Corticosterone
  • Protein regulation
  • Sucrose
  • Zucker rats

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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