Differential effects of high-carbohydrate and high-fat diet composition on metabolic control and insulin resistance in normal rats

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 May;9(5):1663-76. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9051663. Epub 2012 May 4.


The macronutrient component of diets is critical for metabolic control and insulin action. The aim of this study was to compare the effects of high fat diets (HFDs) vs. high carbohydrate diets (HCDs) on metabolic control and insulin resistance in Wistar rats. Thirty animals divided into five groups (n = 6) were fed: (1) Control diet (CD); (2) High-saturated fat diet (HSFD); (3) High-unsaturated fat diet (HUFD); (4) High-digestible starch diet, (HDSD); and (5) High-resistant starch diet (HRSD) during eight weeks. HFDs and HCDs reduced weight gain in comparison with CD, however no statistical significance was reached. Calorie intake was similar in both HFDs and CD, but rats receiving HCDs showed higher calorie consumption than other groups, (p < 0.01). HRSD showed the lowest levels of serum and hepatic lipids. The HUFD induced the lowest fasting glycemia levels and HOMA-IR values. The HDSD group exhibited the highest insulin resistance and hepatic cholesterol content. In conclusion, HUFD exhibited the most beneficial effects on glycemic control meanwhile HRSD induced the highest reduction on lipid content and did not modify insulin sensitivity. In both groups, HFDs and HCDs, the diet constituents were more important factors than caloric intake for metabolic disturbance and insulin resistance.

Keywords: high-carbohydrate diet; high-fat diet; insulin resistance; metabolic control; resistant starch.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Energy Intake
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Insulin