Different types of soluble fermentable dietary fibre decrease food intake, body weight gain and adiposity in young adult male rats

Clare L Adam, Patricia A Williams, Matthew J Dalby, Karen Garden, Lynn M Thomson, Anthony J Richardson, Silvia W. Gratz, Alexander W Ross

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Dietary fibre-induced satiety offers a physiological approach to body weight regulation, yet there is lack of scientific evidence. This experiment quantified food intake, body weight and body composition responses to three different soluble fermentable dietary fibres in an animal model and explored underlying mechanisms of satiety signalling and hindgut fermentation.

Young adult male rats were fed ad libitum purified control diet (CONT) containing 5% w/w cellulose (insoluble fibre), or diet containing 10% w/w cellulose (CELL), fructo-oligosaccharide (FOS), oat beta-glucan (GLUC) or apple pectin (PECT) (4 weeks; n = 10/group). Food intake, body weight, and body composition (MRI) were recorded, final blood samples analysed for gut satiety hormones, hindgut contents for fermentation products (including short-chain fatty acids, SCFA) and intestinal tissues for SCFA receptor gene expression.

GLUC, FOS and PECT groups had, respectively, 10% (P < 0.05), 17% (P < 0.001) and 19% (P < 0.001) lower food intake and 37% (P < 0.01), 37% (P < 0.01) and 45% (P < 0.001) lower body weight gain than CONT during the four-week experiment. At the end they had 26% (P < 0.05), 35% (P < 0.01) and 42% (P < 0.001) less total body fat, respectively, while plasma total glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) was 2.2-, 3.2- and 2.6-fold higher (P < 0.001) and peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY) was 2.3-, 3.1- and 3.0-fold higher (P < 0.001). There were no differences in these parameters between CONT and CELL. Compared with CONT and CELL, caecal concentrations of fermentation products increased 1.4- to 2.2-fold in GLUC, FOS and PECT (P < 0.05) and colonic concentrations increased 1.9- to 2.5-fold in GLUC and FOS (P < 0.05), with no consistent changes in SCFA receptor gene expression detected.

This provides animal model evidence that sustained intake of three different soluble dietary fibres decreases food intake, weight gain and adiposity, increases circulating satiety hormones GLP-1 and PYY, and increases hindgut fermentation. The presence of soluble fermentable fibre appears to be more important than its source. The results suggest that dietary fibre-induced satiety is worthy of further investigation towards natural body weight regulation in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Article number36
JournalNutrition & Metabolism
Early online date14 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 22 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

We thank Donna Wallace and the Rowett Animal House staff for the daily care of experimental rats, body weight and food intake measurements and MRI scanning, Vivien Buchan and Donna Henderson of the Rowett Analytical Department for proximate analyses and SCFA GC, and Andrew Chappell for conducting the beta-glucan analysis. This research was funded by the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division.


  • dietary fibre
  • beta-glucan
  • fructo-oligosaccharides
  • pectin
  • cellulose
  • fermentation
  • satiety
  • adiposity
  • body weight regulation


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