Short-chain fatty acids and inulin, but not guar gum, prevent diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance through differential mechanisms in mice

Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 21;7(1):6109. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-06447-x.


The role of dietary fibre and short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in obesity development is controversially discussed. Here, we investigated how various types of dietary fibre and different SCFA ratios affect metabolic syndrome-related disorders. Male mice (B6) were fed high-fat diets supplemented with dietary fibres (either cellulose, inulin or guar gum) or different Ac:Pr ratios (high acetate (HAc) or propionate (HPr)) for 30 weeks. Body-fat gain and insulin resistance were greatly reduced by inulin, but not by guar gum, and completely prevented by SCFA supplementation. Only inulin and HAc increased body temperature, possibly by the induction of beige/browning markers in WAT. In addition, inulin and SCFA lowered hepatic triglycerides and improved insulin sensitivity. Both, inulin and HAc reduced hepatic fatty acid uptake, while only inulin enhanced mitochondrial capacity and only HAc suppressed lipogenesis in liver. Interestingly, HPr was accompanied by the induction of Nrg4 in BAT. Fermentable fibre supplementation increased the abundance of bifidobacteria; B. animalis was particularly stimulated by inulin and B. pseudolongum by guar gum. We conclude that in contrast to guar gum, inulin and SCFA prevent the onset of diet-induced weight gain and hepatic steatosis by different mechanisms on liver and adipose tissue metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / pathology
  • Animals
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / metabolism*
  • Galactans / metabolism*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Inulin / metabolism*
  • Lipid Metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Mannans / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Plant Gums / metabolism*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Galactans
  • Mannans
  • Plant Gums
  • Inulin
  • guar gum