Females may be more susceptible to overindulge 'sweet tooth' cravings than males

f Physiology Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology (August 5, 2004 Article in Press).


Rats increased their caloric intake when fed a diet containing greater fat or sugar than that found in regular laboratory chow. Because such diet-induced hyperphagia has been studied primarily in sedentary male rats, the researchers' goal was to investigate the effects of gender and exercise on caloric intake of a diet (chow supplemented with a supply of liquid sweetened condensed milk), chosen for its ability to stimulate hyperphagia. Rats were housed individually in cages that provided access to running wheels. Daily caloric intake of chow alone and then chow plus sweet milk was monitored during sedentary and active conditions.

In sedentary rats (where the running wheel was blocked), chow intake was greater in males, compared to females. In other phases, wheel running produced similar decreases in chow intake in both sexes. Availability of the chow plus milk diet increased caloric intake, compared to that observed in chow-fed rats. This diet-induced hyperphagia was significantly greater in sedentary females (35.7 3.1% increase), relative to sedentary males (9.1 2.2% increase).

Wheel running decreased intake of the chow plus milk diet in both sexes. In active males, diet-induced hyperphagia was abolished and caloric intake was reduced to that observed during chow feeding. In active female rats, diet-induced hyperphagia was attenuated, but not abolished, and caloric intake of the chow plus milk diet remained greater than that observed during chow feeding. The researchers' conclude that female rats are more vulnerable than male rats to this "sweet" form of diet-induced hyperphagia.


Contact: Stacy Brooks
American Physiological Society

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