A modified standard American diet induces physiological parameters associated with metabolic syndrome in C57BL/6J mice

Sophie B. Chehade, George B.H. Green, Christopher D. Graham, Ayanabha Chakraborti, Bijal Vashai, Amber Moon, Michael B. Williams, Benjamin Vickers, Taylor Berryhill, William Van Der Pol, Landon Wilson, Mickie L. Powell, Daniel L. Smith, Stephen Barnes, Casey Morrow, M. Shahid Mukhtar, Gregory D. Kennedy, James A. Bibb, Stephen A. Watts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigations into the causative role that western dietary patterns have on obesity and disease pathogenesis have speculated that quality and quantity of dietary fats and/or carbohydrates have a predictive role in the development of these disorders. Standard reference diets such as the AIN-93 rodent diet have historically been used to promote animal health and reduce variation of results across experiments, rather than model modern human dietary habits or nutrition-related pathologies. In rodents high-fat diets (HFDs) became a classic tool to investigate diet-induced obesity (DIO). These murine diets often relied on a single fat source with the most DIO consistent HFDs containing levels of fat up to 45-60% (kcal), higher than the reported human intake of 33–35% (kcal). More recently, researchers are formulating experimental animal (pre-clinical) diets that reflect mean human macro- and micronutrient consumption levels described by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). These diets attempt to integrate relevant ingredient sources and levels of nutrients; however, they most often fail to include high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as a source of dietary carbohydrate. We have formulated a modified Standard American Diet (mSAD) that incorporates relevant levels and sources of nutrient classes, including dietary HFCS, to assess the basal physiologies associated with mSAD consumption. Mice proffered the mSAD for 15 weeks displayed a phenotype consistent with metabolic syndrome, exhibiting increased adiposity, fasting hyperglycemia with impaired glucose and insulin tolerance. Metabolic alterations were evidenced at the tissue level as crown-like structures (CLS) in adipose tissue and fatty acid deposition in the liver, and targeted 16S rRNA metagenomics revealed microbial compositional shifts between dietary groups. This study suggests diet quality significantly affects metabolic homeostasis, emphasizing the importance of developing relevant pre-clinical diets to investigate chronic diseases highly impacted by western dietary consumption patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number929446
JournalFrontiers in Nutrition
StatePublished - Aug 29 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Western Diet
  • high fat diet
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • metabolic syndrome
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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