23rd May 2016
Junk food is bad for rats
UK charity funds scientists to carry out unacceptable diet tests on animals
Scientists at University College London fed junk food to rats in a ridiculous experiment to demonstrate the effects of a diet high in fat and sugar on the kidneys. The experiments were funded by Diabetes UK. One group of rats was fed a high-fat rat food containing 60% fat for five weeks. The other group was given a choice of various junk foods, including potato crisps, flapjacks, cheese, marshmallows, muffins, doughnuts, biscuits and chocolate bars, to eat over a period of eight weeks1.
To find out if an unhealthy diet is just as harmful to the kidneys as diabetes, another group of rats was injected with a chemical called streptozotocin into their tails. This is known to damage the insulin-producing cells in their pancreas and create abnormalities that mimic those seen in human diabetes.
Another group of rats who have been bred to develop diabetes early in their lives were also used. These ‘diabetic’ rats were then compared with the rats eating the high fat and sugar diets.
All of the animals killed at the end of the experiment. Some of them were placed in CO2 chambers to suffocate to death, while others were given a deadly overdose of anaesthetic. Their hearts were then pierced and kidneys dissected to obtain blood and tissue samples for further analysis.
Studies in humans have already demonstrated the effects on the body of eating junk food and the links between diabetes and effects on the kidneys are already known.
Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, who was also not impressed by this new research, said “Animal studies provide insights about potential effects in people, but they rarely provide definitive answers…. In this case, we certainly already knew that junk food is not good for us. So this is not a great surprise”.2
- Experimental type II diabetes and related models of impaired glucose metabolism differentially regulate glucose transporters at the proximal tubule brush border membrane. (2016). Experimental Physiology, doi: 10.1113/EP085670. Original article can be found here: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1113/EP085670/full
- How junk food wrecks your body. (2016). TIME, 10 May: http://time.com/4322930/how-junk-food-wrecks-your-body/