The scope of the present study was to investigate the effects of red versus white meat intake on the metabolome of rats.Methods and results:
Twenty-four male Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly assigned to 15 days of ad libitum feeding of one of four experimental diets: (i) lean chicken, (ii) chicken with lard, (iii) lean beef, and (iv) beef with lard. Urine, feces, plasma, and colon tissue samples were analyzed using 1H NMR-based metabolomics and real-time PCR was performed on colon tissue to examine the expression of specific genes. Urinary excretion of acetate and anserine was higher after chicken intake, while carnosine, fumarate, and trimethylamine N-oxide excretion were higher after beef intake. In colon tissue, higher choline levels and lower lipid levels were found after intake of chicken compared to beef. Expression of the apc gene was higher in response to the lean chicken and beef with lard diets. Correlation analysis revealed that intestinal apc gene expression was correlated with fecal lactate content (R2 = 0.65).Conclusion:
This study is the first to identify specific differences in the metabolome related to the intake of red and white meat. These differences may reflect perturbations in endogenous metabolism that can be linked to the proposed harmful effects associated with intake of red meat.