Soybean oil consumption is increasing worldwide and parallels a rise in obesity. Rich in unsaturated fats, especially linoleic acid, soybean oil is assumed to be healthy, and yet it induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Here, we show that the genetically modified soybean oil Plenish, which came on the U.S. market in 2014 and is low in linoleic acid, induces less obesity than conventional soybean oil in C57BL/6 male mice. Proteomic analysis of the liver reveals global differences in hepatic proteins when comparing diets rich in the two soybean oils, coconut oil, and a low-fat diet. Metabolomic analysis of the liver and plasma shows a positive correlation between obesity and hepatic C18 oxylipin metabolites of omega-6 (ω6) and omega-3 (ω3) fatty acids (linoleic and α-linolenic acid, respectively) in the cytochrome P450/soluble epoxide hydrolase pathway. While Plenish induced less insulin resistance than conventional soybean oil, it resulted in hepatomegaly and liver dysfunction as did olive oil, which has a similar fatty acid composition. These results implicate a new class of compounds in diet-induced obesity-C18 epoxide and diol oxylipins.
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