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Patterns of food intake and self-selection of macronutrients in rats during short-term deprivation of dietary zinc

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Although it has been known for more than 50 years that zinc (Zn) deficiency regularly and consistently causes anorexia in many animal species, the basic mechanism(s) that cause this phenomenon still remain(s) an enigma. The following studies describe feeding behavior in the early stages of zinc deficiency in the rat model. In one experiment, we used computerized feeding monitors that measured the intake of individual rats at 10-min intervals over 24-hr periods. Male rats were acclimated to the cages and fed a Zn-adequate egg-white-based diet, or a similar diet with <1.0 mg Zn/kg. Food intake was monitored for seven, consecutive 24-hr periods. The 24-hr food intake pattern of the Zn-deprived rats did not differ from the controls; they simply ate less food, mainly during the night hours, with no differences between groups during the day. Although Zn-deprived rats ate less food than controls, the percentage of total diet consumed during night and day did not differ between groups. In another experiment, we simultaneously offered male rats three isocaloric diets with different macronutrient compositions and with or without adequate Zn, and measured the amount of each diet selected during seven, 24-hr periods. The three diets contained either 57% protein from egg white, 30% fat from soybean oil, or 80% carbohydrate from a combination of starch, hydrolyzed starch, and sucrose. For the first four days on experiment, rats selected similar amounts of each diet. Then the Zn-deprived rats began to select only 50% as much of the protein diet as the controls. Similar results were obtained when the data were expressed on the basis of each macronutrient as a percentage of the total diet selected. Zn-deprived rats selected a diet that contained 8% protein, 73% carbohydrate, and 6% fat while the Zn-adequate rats selected 12% protein, 69% carbohydrate, and 6% fat. Fat intake was not affected by Zn-deprivation. The results confirm our previous findings, and are discussed in terms of Zn-deprivation blunting the pathways of signal transduction that involve the peptide hormones known to affect food intake regulation.
Reeves, Philip G.
rats , animal models , zinc , dietary minerals , nutrient deficiencies , anorexia , experimental diets , high protein diet , carbohydrates , high fat diet , feeding behavior , food intake , protein intake , fat intake , carbohydrate intake , cholecystokinin , neuropeptide Y , leptin , proteins , weight gain
p. 232-243.
Includes references
Journal of nutritional biochemistry Apr 2003. v. 14 (4)
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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