Effect of a high- And low-carbohydrate diet on insulin sensitivity in lean and obese cats before and after weight loss

M. Hoenig, K. Thomaseth, M. Waldron, D. C. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to examine the effect of diets high in either carbohydrates or protein on insulin sensitivity (SI) and glucose effectiveness (SG; efficiency of insulin-independent glucose removal) measured with the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp. Twelve lean (group L; equal gender) and 16 obese (group O; equal gender) adult neutered purpose-bred cats (Harlan Sprague Dawley, Madison, WI) were used. The cats were evenly and randomly allocated to two dry diets: diet X (high carbohydrate (36.7% of energy], low protein 126.5% of energy]) and diet Z (low carbohydrate [22.8% of energy), high protein (41.8% of energy]). Hach diet was fed for a period of 4 months, and then the diets were switched. After 8 months, group O cats were maintained on the same diet they had been fed during the preceding 4 months; however, their food intake was decreased to obtain an ap-proximate 1.5% decrease in body weight per week. SI and SG were measured for groups L and O at the end of each 4-month feeding period and in group O again after the cats had returned to their lean body weight. Insulin was infused at a rate of 7.6 pmol/min/kg for 2 hours, and glucose concentrations were measured at least every 15 minutes. Statistical analysis was completed using a sequential combination of nonlinear mixed effects, best linear unbiased predictive model, and linear mixed effects modeling. Diet had no effect on either SI or SG. However, group O only had approximately 30% of the SG (P < .048) and SI (P < .0008) of group L. Weight loss restored normal SI and SG. Feeding a high- or low-carbohydrate diet for several months does not change SI or SG in lean or obese cats; however, weight loss in obese cats significantly improves insulin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalCompendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian
Issue number4 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • veterinary(all)


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