Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The impacts of different macronutrients on body weight regulation remain unresolved, with different studies suggesting increased dietary fat, increased carbohydrates (particularly sugars), or reduced protein may all stimulate overconsumption and drive obesity. We exposed C57BL/6 mice to 29 different diets varying from 8.3% to 80% fat, 10% to 80% carbohydrate, 5% to 30% protein, and 5% to 30% sucrose. Only increased dietary fat content was associated with elevated energy intake and adiposity. This response was associated with increased gene expression in the 5-HT receptors, and the dopamine and opioid signaling pathways in the hypothalamus. We replicated the core findings in four other mouse strains (DBA/2, BALB/c, FVB, and C3H). Mice regulate their food consumption primarily to meet an energy rather than a protein target, but this system can be over-ridden by hedonic factors linked to fat, but not sucrose, consumption.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Metab

Publication Date





415 - 431.e4


FGF signaling, energy regulation, fat intake, hedonic overdrive, hypothalamic hunger pathway, mTOR signaling, mice, obesity, protein leverage hypothesis, sucrose intake, Adiposity, Analgesics, Opioid, Animals, Dietary Carbohydrates, Dietary Fats, Dietary Proteins, Dopamine, Energy Intake, Hypothalamus, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred BALB C, Mice, Inbred C3H, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Mice, Inbred DBA, Obesity, Receptors, Serotonin, Signal Transduction