Background: Polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are reported to protect against high fat diet-induced obesity and inflammation in adipose tissue. Here we aimed to investigate if the amount of sucrose in the background diet influences the ability of n-3 PUFAs to protect against diet-induced obesity, adipose tissue inflammation and glucose intolerance.
Methodology/principal findings: We fed C57BL/6J mice a protein- (casein) or sucrose-based high fat diet supplemented with fish oil or corn oil for 9 weeks. Irrespective of the fatty acid source, mice fed diets rich in sucrose became obese whereas mice fed high protein diets remained lean. Inclusion of sucrose in the diet also counteracted the well-known anti-inflammatory effect of fish oil in adipose tissue, but did not impair the ability of fish oil to prevent accumulation of fat in the liver. Calculation of HOMA-IR indicated that mice fed high levels of proteins remained insulin sensitive, whereas insulin sensitivity was reduced in the obese mice fed sucrose irrespectively of the fat source. We show that a high fat diet decreased glucose tolerance in the mice independently of both obesity and dietary levels of n-3 PUFAs and sucrose. Of note, increasing the protein∶sucrose ratio in high fat diets decreased energy efficiency irrespective of fat source. This was accompanied by increased expression of Ppargc1a (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, gamma, coactivator 1 alpha) and increased gluconeogenesis in the fed state.
Conclusions/significance: The background diet influence the ability of n-3 PUFAs to protect against development of obesity, glucose intolerance and adipose tissue inflammation. High levels of dietary sucrose counteract the anti-inflammatory effect of fish oil in adipose tissue and increases obesity development in mice.