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Acute exposure to a high-fat diet alters meal patterns and body composition


Weight gain and adiposity are often attributed to the overconsumption of unbalanced, high-fat diets however, the pattern of consumption can also contribute to associated body weight and compositional changes. The present study explored the rapid alterations in meal patterns of normal-weight rats given continuous access to high-fat diet and examined body weight and composition changes compared to chow fed controls. Ten Long–Evans rats were implanted with subcutaneous microchips for meal pattern analysis. Animals were body weight matched and separated into two groups: high-fat or chow fed. Each group was maintained on their assigned diet for nine days and monitored for 22 h each day for meal pattern behavior. Body weight was evaluated every other day, and body composition measures were taken prior and following diet exposure. High-fat fed animals gained more weight and adipose tissue than chow fed controls and displayed a reduced meal frequency and increased meal size. Furthermore, meal size was significantly correlated with the gain of adipose tissue. Together, these results suggest that consumption of a high-fat diet can rapidly alter meal patterns, which in turn contribute to the development of adiposity.