FSU Research Shows Intermittent High-Fat Diets Lead to Deficits in Satiation

Photo of fruits and veggies.

New research done at FSU shows that impaired satiation responses caused by an intermittent high-fat diet may contribute to eating disorders, such as binge eating. Binge eating is characterized by extreme intermittent overconsumption of food with periods of normal or restricted food intake.

Studies of humans with eating disorders have not been able to distinguish between satiation deficits being a preexisting condition before the eating disorder or if they are a consequence, thus contributing to the maintenance of the disorder. Through the use of a rodent model, researchers can mimic the similar excessive-intake characteristic of binge eating and, hopefully, shed some light on this issue.

In order to mimic binge eating behavior, female rats were given 20 hour access to a high-fat diet which was given on an intermittent schedule every fourth day. During that high-fat diet access, rats consumed large amounts of the high-fat food. Following that limited access, the rats then voluntarily restrict their own food intake for a day and then return to normal feeding levels.

During the intermittent high-fat diet, rats consumed the highest amount of calories on the days where the 20 hour high-fat diet was presented to them. This pattern of overconsumption with an intermittent high-fat diet may be leading to satiation deficits, such as with responsiveness to both nutrient-induced satiation and certain satiation signals like amylin. This study determined that the intermittent high-fat diet was leading to a reduction in this responsiveness, which was likely contributing to the continuous pattern of overconsumption on this binge-eating type diet. In fact, rats on this diet showed a reduction in the satiation of the first meal and increased meal size during the limited high-fat diet access.

During this study, even supplying the rats with Ensure, as extra nutrients for nutrient-induced satiation, or amylin, a satiation signal, did not correct the feeding behavior by suppressing intake of food. This demonstrates that there is a reduction in the responsiveness to gastrointestinal nutrients and satiation signals in rats with this intermittent high-fat diet.

Overall, the results from this study support the idea that impaired satiation contributes to the overconsumption of food and the maintenance of binge-eating behavior.

FSU graduate assistants Calyn Maske and Sarah Terrill and Professor Diana Williams co-authored this study with two FSU undergraduate research assistants Isabel Coiduras and Zeleen Ondriezek.

By Alina Stimmell