Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Diet and the Fat Rat

I have ten rats, and only one of them is fat, Walter. But, he definitely does fat well.

The 1.99 displayed on the scale means that Walter is almost 2 pounds.

Walter squeaks, "I'm round like a pancake. Gimme more pancakes. I need them for my handsome figure."
From wikipedia,
Zucker rats were bred to be a genetic model for research on obesity and hypertension. They are named after Lois M. Zucker and Theodore F. Zucker, pioneer researchers in the study of the genetics of obesity. There are two types of Zucker rat: a lean Zucker rat, denoted as the dominant trait (Fa/Fa) or (Fa/fa); and the characteristically obese (or fatty) Zucker rat, which is actually a recessive trait (fa/fa) of the leptin receptor, capable of weighing up to 1 kilogram (2.2 lb)—more than twice the average weight.[17][18][19]
Obese Zucker rats have high levels of lipids and cholesterol in their blood, are resistant to insulin without being hyperglycemic, and gain weight from an increase in both the size and number of fat cells.[20] Obesity in Zucker rats is primarily linked to their hyperphagic nature, and excessive hunger; however, food intake does not fully explain the hyperlipidemia or overall body composition.[18][20]

So, I'm thinking that my round rat, Walter, is likely related to the Zucker rats. He eats the same food as my other rats, yet he is rotund.

I, initially, thought we could get him to lose weight by exercising him. We tried arranging the cage to be more conducive for exercise, but um have you ever tried to get a rat to exercise??? I even looked at a research article in which they exercised Zucker rats. They encouraged them, and they did lose weight, but the question is how? The article detailed all sorts of encouragement which were cute and sweet, but if that didn't worked, they resorted to an electrical shock. Hmmm. Nope. Exercising Walter does not sound workable.

And, anyways, from what I've read on human weight loss. Most of weight loss is achieved through diet.


Walter and my rats eat a modified Sue Bee Diet. (Rose is allergic to wheat, so none of them get wheat).

For humans, a low glycemic diet helps with weight loss and simultaneously promotes satiety. I not only have read about this, but I'm on a low glycemic diet and have lost 50 pounds. So.. would this diet work for Walter? Of course, a lot of the research studies were done on rats. And, I've been reading them.... very frustrating to find out how simplistic the rat research diets are. I'm also interested in Paleo diet, but I can't seem to find research involving Zucker rats and the Paleo diet.

I'm trying to decide between two choices.

1. Put the rats on the Harlan Teklad low glycemic lab blocks. I will have to find out how to order them and whether they contain wheat. (Rose is allergic to wheat, the poor thing.)

2. Put the rats on my diet, and just provide them with a portion of every meal that I eat. (They already get snacks from my meals, but this would entail providing all of their food from my food.)

Maybe, some day, I will be able to Walter to lose some weight.
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