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The biggest study that's been done in mouse nutrition in 50 years by John Speakman, PhD

By Mark D'Antonio

In a landmark paper published in Cell Metabolism in September of 2018,  John Speakman, (with joint appointments at University of Aberdeen and the Chinese Academy of Sciences) et al., studied the effects of 29 different diets that varied in protein, fat and sucrose content on food intake, adiposity and energy expenditure in 5 strains of mice. These diets are meant to model the American diet in terms of their fatty acid composition and carbohydrate composition.

The impetus for the study lies in the still not well understood relationship between dietary macronutrient composition and subsequent food intake and body weight gain. Put more simply, is obesity driven by excess energy intake when the diet is high in one macronutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate)?

Speakman’s data from over 1000 mice showed that in these models, it was dietary fat that was the most responsible for increased adiposity. As the amount of fat in the diet increased (in the face of high or low dietary protein), the mice consistently gained more weight. Altering dietary protein or sucrose levels did not have a significant effect on weight gain. As stated in their discussion, “When dietary fat levels are fixed, variation in other macronutrients appears largely irrelevant for weight and adiposity regulation.

Researchers wanting to test these macronutrient combination diets in their own animal models can see the formulas below. They can be ordered as they appear or we can modify these diets to create new formulas to answer related research questions.

Dr. Speakman’s entire diet series can be found here:

Dr. Speakman was recently interviewed about this paper: