Background: Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana Bertoni) is a non-caloric natural-source alternative to artificially produced sugar substitutes. This study investigated the effect of stevia extract on lipid profiles in C57BL/6J mice. Forty mice were divided into four groups: N-C (normal diet and distilled water), H-C (high-fat diet and distilled water), H-SC (high fat diet and sucrose, 1 mL kg(-1) per day), and H-SV (high-fat diet and stevia extract, 1 mL kg(-1) per day).
Results: Body weight gain was significantly higher in the H-SC group than in the H-SV group. Triglyceride concentrations in serum and liver were lower in the H-SV group than in the H-SC group. Serum total cholesterol concentrations were lower in the H-SV and H-C groups compared to the H-SC group. The concentrations of acid-insoluble acylcarnitine (AIAC) in serum were higher in the H-SV group than in the H-C and H-SC groups and the acyl/free carnitine level in liver was significantly higher in the H-SV group than in the N-C group. These results were supported by mRNA expression of enzymes related to lipid metabolism (ACO, PPARalpha, ACS, CPT-I, ACC) assessed by real-time polymerase chain reaction.
Conclusion: These results suggest that the supplementation of stevia extract might have an anti-obesity effect on high-fat diet induced obese mice.