Effects of Dietary Fibre (Pectin) and/or Increased Protein (Casein or Pea) on Satiety, Body Weight, Adiposity and Caecal Fermentation in High Fat Diet-Induced Obese Rats

PLoS One. 2016 May 25;11(5):e0155871. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155871. eCollection 2016.


Dietary constituents that suppress appetite, such as dietary fibre and protein, may aid weight loss in obesity. The soluble fermentable dietary fibre pectin promotes satiety and decreases adiposity in diet-induced obese rats but effects of increased protein are unknown. Adult diet-induced obese rats reared on high fat diet (45% energy from fat) were given experimental diets ad libitum for 4 weeks (n = 8/group): high fat control, high fat with high protein (40% energy) as casein or pea protein, or these diets with added 10% w/w pectin. Dietary pectin, but not high protein, decreased food intake by 23% and induced 23% body fat loss, leading to 12% lower final body weight and 44% lower total body fat mass than controls. Plasma concentrations of satiety hormones PYY and total GLP-1 were increased by dietary pectin (168% and 151%, respectively) but not by high protein. Plasma leptin was decreased by 62% on pectin diets and 38% on high pea (but not casein) protein, while plasma insulin was decreased by 44% on pectin, 38% on high pea and 18% on high casein protein diets. Caecal weight and short-chain fatty acid concentrations in the caecum were increased in pectin-fed and high pea protein groups: caecal succinate was increased by pectin (900%), acetate and propionate by pectin (123% and 118%, respectively) and pea protein (147% and 144%, respectively), and butyrate only by pea protein (309%). Caecal branched-chain fatty acid concentrations were decreased by pectin (down 78%) but increased by pea protein (164%). Therefore, the soluble fermentable fibre pectin appeared more effective than high protein for increasing satiety and decreasing caloric intake and adiposity while on high fat diet, and produced a fermentation environment more likely to promote hindgut health. Altogether these data indicate that high fibre may be better than high protein for weight (fat) loss in obesity.

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects*
  • Caseins / pharmacology*
  • Cecum* / metabolism
  • Cecum* / microbiology
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Obesity* / chemically induced
  • Obesity* / metabolism
  • Obesity* / microbiology
  • Peas*
  • Pectins / pharmacology*
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Satiety Response / drug effects*


  • Caseins
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Plant Proteins, Dietary
  • Pectins

Grant support

This work was funded by the Scottish Government Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Division. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.