RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Intermittent Moderate Energy Restriction Improves Weight Loss Efficiency in Diet-Induced Obese Mice.

BACKGROUND: Intermittent severe energy restriction is popular for weight management. To investigate whether intermittent moderate energy restriction may improve this approach by enhancing weight loss efficiency, we conducted a study in mice, where energy intake can be controlled.

METHODS: Male C57/Bl6 mice that had been rendered obese by an ad libitum diet high in fat and sugar for 22 weeks were then fed one of two energy-restricted normal chow diets for a 12-week weight loss phase. The continuous diet (CD) provided 82% of the energy intake of age-matched ad libitum chow-fed controls. The intermittent diet (ID) provided cycles of 82% of control intake for 5-6 consecutive days, and ad libitum intake for 1-3 days. Weight loss efficiency during this phase was calculated as (total weight change) ÷ [(total energy intake of mice on CD or ID)-(total average energy intake of controls)]. Subsets of mice then underwent a 3-week weight regain phase involving ad libitum re-feeding.

RESULTS: Mice on the ID showed transient hyperphagia relative to controls during each 1-3-day ad libitum feeding period, and overall ate significantly more than CD mice (91.1±1.0 versus 82.2±0.5% of control intake respectively, n = 10, P<0.05). There were no significant differences between CD and ID groups at the end of the weight loss or weight regain phases with respect to body weight, fat mass, circulating glucose or insulin concentrations, or the insulin resistance index. Weight loss efficiency was significantly greater with ID than with CD (0.042±0.007 versus 0.018±0.001 g/kJ, n = 10, P<0.01). Mice on the CD exhibited significantly greater hypothalamic mRNA expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) relative to ID and control mice, with no differences in neuropeptide Y or agouti-related peptide mRNA expression between energy-restricted groups.

CONCLUSION: Intermittent moderate energy restriction may offer an advantage over continuous moderate energy restriction, because it induces significantly greater weight loss relative to energy deficit in mice.

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