Behavioral Characterization of a Model of Differential Susceptibility to Obesity Induced by Standard and Personalized Cafeteria Diet Feeding

Physiol Behav. 2015 Dec 1;152(Pt A):315-22. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2015.10.001. Epub 2015 Oct 9.


Despite the increase in obesity prevalence over the last decades, humans show large inter-individual variability for susceptibility to diet-induced obesity. Understanding the biological basis of this susceptibility could identify new therapeutic alternatives against obesity. We characterized behavioral changes associated with propensity to obesity induced by cafeteria (CAF) diet consumption in mice. We show that Balb/c mice fed a CAF diet display a large inter-individual variability in susceptibility to diet-induced obesity, such that based on changes in adiposity we can classify mice as obesity prone (OP) or obesity resistant (OR). Both OP and OR were hyperphagic relative to control-fed mice but caloric intake was similar between OP and OR mice. In contrast, OR had a larger increase in locomotor activity following CAF diet compared to OP mice. Obesity resistant and prone mice showed similar intake of sweet snacks, but OR ate more savory snacks than OP mice. Two bottle sucrose preference tests showed that OP decreased their sucrose preference compared to OR mice after CAF diet feeding. Finally, to test the robustness of the OR phenotype in response to further increases in caloric intake, we fed OR mice with a personalized CAF (CAF-P) diet based on individual snack preferences. When fed a CAF-P diet, OR increased their calorie intake compared to OP mice fed the standard CAF diet, but did not reach adiposity levels observed in OP mice. Together, our data show the contribution of hedonic intake, individual snack preference and physical activity to individual susceptibility to obesity in Balb/c mice fed a standard and personalized cafeteria-style diet.

Keywords: Cafeteria diet; Obesity; Snacks; Spontaneous physical activity; Sucrose preference; Susceptibility to obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Choice Behavior / physiology
  • Diet* / adverse effects
  • Diet* / psychology
  • Dietary Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eating / physiology
  • Eating / psychology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology
  • Food Preferences / physiology*
  • Food Preferences / psychology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Hyperphagia / etiology
  • Hyperphagia / physiopathology
  • Hyperphagia / psychology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / genetics
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / physiology*
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C / psychology
  • Mice, Obese / genetics
  • Mice, Obese / physiology*
  • Mice, Obese / psychology
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Species Specificity


  • Dietary Sucrose