OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to verify the effects of consumption of a high-fat diet (HFD) combined with fructose-rich beverages (FRT) in promoting metabolic and physiologic changes associated with insulin resistance.
METHODS: Thirty-two male Wistar rats (250 ± 10 g) were randomly allocated into four groups (n = 8) that received either a standard diet (CON), HFD, FRT, or HFD + FRT for 30 d. Insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance were evaluated using the insulin tolerance test (ITT) and oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). Serum samples were used to analyze the metabolic parameters and hormone levels. Interleukin (IL)-6, IL-10, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor-α assays were performed in the liver, pancreas, gastrocnemius muscle, and epididymal adipose tissue by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Histologic and morphometric analyses were performed on the liver, pancreas, and adipose tissues.
RESULTS: Consumption of HFD + FRT promoted a significant increase (P < 0.05) in body weight, index adiposity, and in the area under the curve of ITT (P < 0.001) and OGTT (P < 0.001) when compared with the CON group. Consumption of FRT alone increased fasting glucose (P = 0.015), insulin (P = 0.035), and homeostasis model assessment index (P = 0.018), and these changes were of greater magnitude when FRT was combined with HFD. Moreover, the rats fed an HFD + FRT demonstrated a significant increase in lipid droplets in the liver (P < 0.001), an increase in adipocyte area, and an increase in inflammatory cytokines in the liver, pancreas, skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue.
CONCLUSION: Consumption of an HFD + FRT promotes insulin resistance, increases inflammatory cytokines, and modulates histomorphometric parameters of the liver, pancreas, and adipose tissue, typical of insulin resistance in humans.