Linking Foods, Behavior and Metabolism to Promote a Healthy Body Weight
Obesity and Metabolism Research Unit
Project Number: 5306-51530-019-00
Start Date: Mar 16, 2009
End Date: Mar 15, 2014
Objective 1: Evaluate mediators of behavior change critical for adopting a healthy diet by investigating interrelationships between psychosocial stress, nutritional behavior and metabolism in humans and animal models.
Objective 2: Determine how diet patterns, whole foods, and food components influence physiology and metabolic health by impacting eating- and neuro-behaviors, energy balance and substrate utilization, fitness, body weight and body composition in humans.
Objective 3: Determine mechanisms underlying the regulation of body weight and disorders associated with obesity, by examining hormonal, neuronal, and metabolite pathways linking adipose and non-adipose tissues, and characterizing tissue-specific inflammation in humans, cells, and animal models.
Objective 4: Determine the impact of dietary lipids on body weight, adiposity, and/or metabolic health indices by assessing their influence on lipoprotein-dependent trafficking of bioactive lipids to adipose and peripheral tissues, their effects on the regulation of metabolic homeostasis, and their interactions with distinct fatty acid desaturase/elongase activity phenotypes.
Objective 5: Characterize the roles of cellular zinc in regulation of lipid metabolism, body fat mass, and fat distribution during postnatal development in genetically-modified animal models.
Objective 6. Develop and validate phenotyping tools that classify and predict metabolic and body weight responses to dietary and physical activity interventions in individuals and populations.
We will use a multidisciplinary approach to test molecular, physiological, and metabolic responses to diets composed of whole foods or enriched with select macro- and micronutrients, determine how physical activity, stress, and genetic factors modify metabolism and responses to foods, identify important behavioral and psychosocial factors related to adopting the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, and determine basic physiological mechanisms underlying links between nutrition, physical activity, and metabolic health. Our work will use classical investigations of metabolism and energetics, along with metabolomic analyses, real-time determinations of brain activity in response to foods, and gene/protein expression determinations to investigate these questions, linking findings from these approaches to whole-organism phenotypes and human behavioral traits. Randomized controlled trials and analyses of samples from longitudinal observational studies will also be conducted. Important studies in animal and cell culture models will complement this work to gain a deeper understanding of underlying mechanisms and/or to obtain proof-of-concept information before designing and conducting human trials.