Long-term effects of dietary glycemic index on adiposity, energy metabolism, and physical activity in mice

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Nov;295(5):E1126-31. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.90487.2008. Epub 2008 Sep 9.


A high-glycemic index (GI) diet has been shown to increase adiposity in rodents; however, the long-term metabolic effects of a low- and high-GI diet have not been examined. In this study, a total of 48 male 129SvPas mice were fed diets high in either rapidly absorbed carbohydrate (RAC; high GI) or slowly absorbed carbohydrate (SAC; low GI) for up to 40 wk. Diets were controlled for macronutrient and micronutrient content, differing only in starch type. Body composition and insulin sensitivity were measured longitudinally by DEXA scan and oral glucose tolerance test, respectively. Food intake, respiratory quotient, physical activity, and energy expenditure were assessed using metabolic cages. Despite having similar mean body weights, mice fed the RAC diet had 40% greater body fat by the end of the study and a mean 2.2-fold greater insulin resistance compared with mice fed the SAC diet. Respiratory quotient was higher in the RAC group, indicating comparatively less fat oxidation. Although no differences in energy expenditure were observed throughout the study, total physical activity was 45% higher for the SAC-fed mice after 38 wk of feeding. We conclude that, in this animal model, 1) the effect of GI on body composition is mediated by changes in substrate oxidation, not energy intake; 2) a high-GI diet causes insulin resistance; and 3) dietary composition can affect physical activity level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Feces / chemistry
  • Glycemic Index / physiology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / physiology


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin