Dietary Self-Selection in Chronically Insulin-Treated Golden Hamsters

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Adult male golden hamsters were maintained on either Purina Rat Chow (chow group) or a self-selection diet consisting of high-protein chow, pure carbohydrate, and pure fat (choice group). Animals were injected for 12 consecutive days with either long-acting insulin (20 U/kg for 4 days, 60 U/kg for 4 days, and 100 U/kg for 4 days) or physiological saline. Insulin-injected hamsters under both dietary conditions increased their total caloric consumption by up to 33% and gained significantly more weight than saline-injected controls. Choice hamsters increased their fat intake in response to the 60 and 100 U/kg doses of insulin, but carbohydrate and protein consumption increased only in response to the 100 U/kg dose. Choice hamsters derived approximately 65% of the excess calories ingested during insulin administration from fat, but only 20% from carbohydrate and 15% from protein. Results are related to those previously observed in other species.

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