Recovery of insulin sensitivity and optimal body composition after rapid weight loss in obese dogs fed a high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet

J Anim Physiol Anim Nutr (Berl). 2017 Jun;101 Suppl 1:21-30. doi: 10.1111/jpn.12744.


This study investigated the effects of an experimental high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet (protein level, 46% metabolizable energy, ME). First, postprandial plasma glucose and insulin kinetics were determined in steady-state overweight/obese Beagle dogs (28%-41% excess body weight) for an experimental high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet (protein level, 46% ME) and a commercial high-carbohydrate medium-protein diet (protein level, 24%ME) in obese dogs. Secondly, all the dogs were included in a weight loss programme. They were fed the high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet, and the energy allocation was gradually reduced until they reached their optimal body weight. Insulin sensitivity and body composition were evaluated before and after weight loss using a euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamp and the deuterium oxide dilution technique respectively. For statistical analysis, linear mixed effect models were used with a significance level of 5%. Postprandial plasma glucose and insulin concentrations were substantially lower with the high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet than the high-carbohydrate medium-protein diet. These differences can be explained mainly by the difference in carbohydrate content between the two diets. Energy restriction (35% lower energy intake than in the obese state) resulted in a 2.23 ± 0.05% loss in body weight/week, and the dogs reached their optimal body weight in 12-16 weeks. Weight loss was associated with a significant increase in insulin sensitivity. The high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet allowed fat-free mass preservation despite a relatively high rate of weekly weight loss. The increase in insulin sensitivity indicated improved control of carbohydrate metabolism, possible due to weight loss and to the nature of the diet. Thus, a high-protein medium-carbohydrate diet is a good nutritional solution for managing the weight of overweight dogs. This diet may improve glycaemic control, which could be beneficial for preventing or managing impaired glucose tolerance in obese dogs and for safe and successful weight loss while preserving lean body mass.

Keywords: clamp; glucose; lean body mass; metabolism; overweight; starch.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animal Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Composition*
  • Diet / veterinary
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dog Diseases / diet therapy*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Obesity / diet therapy
  • Obesity / veterinary*
  • Time Factors
  • Weight Loss


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Proteins