Dietary Leucine Reduces Diet-Induced Obesity in Mice

Also reduces hyperglycemia and cholesterol levels

TUESDAY, June 19 (HealthDay News) -- Doubling dietary leucine in mice fed a high-fat diet reduces weight gain, obesity, hyperglycemia and cholesterol levels, according to a report in the June issue of Diabetes. Leucine is found in whole grains and other food.

Yiying Zhang, Ph.D., from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues allowed mice free access to either a normal or high-fat diet and doubled the leucine present in their drinking water.

The researchers found that the increased leucine had no effect on weight or adiposity in rats fed a normal diet but reduced weight gain by as much as 32 percent and adiposity by 25 percent in rats fed a high-fat diet. The reduction in adiposity was due to increased resting energy expenditure. The increased leucine in mice fed a high-fat diet also prevented hyperglycemia, reduced total cholesterol by 27 percent and reduced low-density lipoprotein cholesterol by 53 percent.

"In conclusion, increases in dietary leucine intake substantially decrease diet-induced obesity, hyperglycemia and hypercholesterolemia in mice with ad libitum consumption of high-fat diet likely via multiple mechanisms," Zhang and colleagues write.

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