Reversion to a control balanced diet is able to restore body weight and to recover altered metabolic parameters in adult rats long-term fed on a cafeteria diet

Bàrbara Reynés, Estefanía García-Ruiz, Rubén Díaz-Rúa, Andreu Palou*, Paula Oliver

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Scopus citations


    The increased intake of fat-rich foods is one of the causes of the increasing incidence of obesity. However, there are controversial data on the reversibility of diet-induced obesity and its metabolic complications when adopting a control energy-balanced diet. Our aim was to evaluate the ability to reset not only body weight but also metabolic disorders caused by a highly palatable high fat diet, cafeteria diet, administered to adult rats, when replaced by a control diet (post-cafeteria model). Four-months of cafeteria diet-feeding produced important metabolic alterations in comparison to a commercial purified high fat diet: a rapid, drastic increase in body weight, adiposity and related complications such as insulin resistance, decreased glucose tolerance and development of hepatic steatosis. At gene level, decreased lipogenic and increased lipolytic gene expression in key energy homeostatic tissues as a physiological adaptation to increased fat intake was observed. In addition, fasting response of serum parameters and of key genes in lipid metabolism was impaired in cafeteria-fed animals. Contrary to what we have previously described if cafeteria diet is administered early in life, when administered to adult animals, its replacement with a balanced diet is able to restore body weight. Cafeteria diet withdrawal also allows recovery from metabolic damage, gene expression regulation and fasting response, the degree of which is dependent on the time of exposure to the cafeteria diet. In conclusion, adherence to an ad libitum intake of a balanced standard diet can enable the recovery of healthy status in animals which were previously exposed to an unhealthy cafeteria diet in adult age.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)839-848
    Number of pages10
    JournalFood Research International
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    We thank Enzo Ceresi for technical assistance in the morphological analysis. CIBER de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y Nutrición is an initiative of the ISCIII. This work was supported by the Spanish Government ( Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia , EPIMILK-AGL2012-33692 ) and by the EU FP7 project BIOCLAIMS-FP7-244995 . Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Nutrition and Biotechnology is a member of the European Research Network of Excellence NuGO (The European Nutrigenomics Organization, EU Contract: FOOD-CT-2004-506360 NUGO). The authors belong to the Nutrigenomics-group, awarded as “Group of Excellence” of CAIB and supported by “Direcció General d'Universitats, Recerca i Transferència del Coneixement” of Regional Government (CAIB) and FEDER funds (EU). EGR and RDR are recipients of a fellowship from the University of the Balearic Islands and from the Spanish Government, respectively.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


    • Adipose tissue
    • Cafeteria diet
    • Obesity
    • Post-cafeteria model
    • Weight loss

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science


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