Mice that gorged during dietary restriction increased foraging related behaviors and differed in their macronutrient preference when released from restriction

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Caloric restriction (CR) can trigger gorging behavior. We examined macronutrient choice and behavior in mice that gorged during restriction compared to restricted non-gorgers and controls. Fifty MF1 male mice were restricted to 75% of ad-libitum food intake (FI), while ten controls were fed ad-lib. Body mass (BM) and FI were measured two and 24-h after food inclusion over 14-days. 'Gorging' mice were defined as those which ate over 25% of their daily FI in 2-h. The top 11 gorgers and the lowest 9 gorgers, along with 10 controls, had their behavior analysed during restriction, and were then provided with an unrestricted food choice, consisting of three diets that were high in fat, protein or carbohydrate. During restriction gorgers ate on average 51% of their daily FI in the 2-h following food introduction while the non-gorgers ate only 16%. Gorgers lost significantly more BM than non-gorgers possibly due to an increased physical activity linked to anticipation of daily food provision. Controls and non-gorgers spent most of their time sleeping. After restriction, both gorgers and non-gorgers were hyperphagic until their lost weight was regained. All 3 groups favoured high fat food. Gorgers and non-gorgers had a significantly greater high carbohydrate diet intake than controls, and gorgers also had a significantly greater high protein diet intake than non-gorgers and controls. On unrestricted food, they did not continue to gorge, although they still had a significantly greater 2-h FI than the other groups. Elevated protein intake may play an important role in the recovery of the lost lean tissue of gorgers after restriction.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1091
Number of pages17
Early online date2 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.

This work was funded by the University of Aberdeen. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

We are grateful for the assistance provided by Caitlin Begley, the animal house staff at the University of Aberdeen, Paula Redman and Nick Fewkes.


  • gorging
  • activity
  • food restriction
  • diet choice
  • macronutrient


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