Dietary whey and egg proteins interact with inulin fiber to modulate energy balance and gut microbiota in obese rats

Bharath S. Avirineni, Arashdeep Singh, Rizaldy C. Zapata, Caleb D. Phillips, Prasanth K. Chelikani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Diets supplemented with protein and fiber are well known to reduce food intake and weight gain; however, less is known about the combined effects of protein and prebiotic fiber on energy balance and gut microbiota composition. We compared effects of diets containing high egg or whey protein with cellulose or prebiotic (inulin) fiber on energy balance, gut microbiota, hormones, and metabolites. Male obese rats (n=8/group) were allocated to four diets: Egg albumen+Cellulose (EC), Egg albumen+Inulin (EI), Whey protein+Cellulose (WC), and Whey protein+Inulin (WI). Results revealed that diet-induced hypophagia was transient with EC and prolonged with EI and WI, compared to WC. Importantly, CCK-1 receptor antagonist (Devazepide) attenuated the hypophagic effects of EC, EI, and WI. Further, EC, EI and WI decreased respiratory quotient, energy expenditure, weight and adiposity gains, and improved glycemia, relative to WC. Propranolol (β12-receptor blocker) attenuated diet-induced changes in energy expenditure. Transcript abundance of thermogenic markers in brown adipose tissue, plasma hormones, and metabolites especially acyl-carnitines and glycerophospholipids, were differentially altered by diets. Diet explained 25% of compositional differences in cecal microbiomes, but diets with same fiber type did not differ. Microbiota differing between groups also strongly correlated with gut hormones and metabolites. Species most strongly correlated to a marker for butyrate production were in highest abundance in inulin diets. Together, these findings indicate that inulin enriched diets containing egg or whey protein improved energy balance, decreased adiposity, and modulated gut microbiota and metabolites, with CCK signaling partly mediating the satiety effects of diets.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108860
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • cholecystokinin
  • energy balance
  • metabolome
  • microbiota
  • prebiotic
  • protein


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