High-protein diets are known to reduce adiposity in the context of high carbohydrate and Western diets. However, few studies have investigated the specific high-protein effect on lipogenesis induced by a high-sucrose (HS) diet or fat deposition induced by high-fat feeding. We aimed to determine the effects of high protein intake on the development of fat deposition and partitioning in response to high-fat and/or HS feeding. A total of thirty adult male Wistar rats were assigned to one of the six dietary regimens with low and high protein, sucrose and fat contents for 5 weeks. Body weight (BW) and food intake were measured weekly. Oral glucose tolerance tests and meal tolerance tests were
performed after 4th and 5th weeks of the regimen, respectively. At the end of the study, the rats were killed 2 h after ingestion of a calibrated meal. Blood, tissues and organs were collected for analysis of circulating metabolites and hormones, body composition and mRNA expression
in the liver and adipose tissues. No changes were observed in cumulative energy intake and BW gain after 5 weeks of dietary treatment. However, high-protein diets reduced by 20 % the adiposity gain induced by HS and high-sucrose high-fat (HS-HF) diets. Gene expression and transcriptomic analysis suggested that high protein intake reduced liver capacity for lipogenesis by reducing mRNA expressions of fatty acid synthase (fasn), acetyl-CoA carboxylase a and b (Acaca and Acacb) and sterol regulatory element binding transcription factor 1c (Srebf-1c). Moreover, ketogenesis, as indicated by plasma ß-hydroxybutyrate levels, was higher in HS-HF-fed mice that were also fed high protein levels. Taken together, these results suggest that high-protein diets may reduce adiposity by inhibiting lipogenesis and stimulating ketogenesis in the liver.