1. Male rats were fed for 14 days on powdered diets containing (by weight) 53% of starch, or on diets in which 20g of starch per 100g of diet was replaced by lard or corn oil. They were then fed acutely by stomach tube with a single dose of glucose, fructose or ethanol of equivalent energy contents, or with 0.15m-NaCl. The serum concentrations of corticosterone, insulin, glucose, glycerol, triacylglycerol and cholesterol were measured up to 6h after this treatment. 2. Feeding saline (0.9% NaCl) acutely to the rats maintained on the three powdered diets produced a small transient increase in circulating corticosterone that was similar to that in rats maintained on the normal 41B pelleted diet. 3. Feeding glucose acutely to the rats on the powdered diets produced peak concentrations of corticosterone that were 2–3-fold higher than those seen in rats maintained on the 41B diet. The duration of this response increased in the order starch diet<lard diet<corn-oil diet. This abnormal corticosterone response to glucose feeding appeared to be responsible for an increased activity in phosphatidate phosphohydrolase in the livers of rats fed the starch and lard diets of 2.9- and 4.9-fold respectively. The latter increase was similar to that produced by ethanol, whereas glucose did not increase the phosphohydrolase activity in the liver of rats maintained on the 41B diet. 4. Feeding fructose acutely produced even more marked increases than glucose in the concentrations of circulating corticosterone in rats given the powdered diets, but unlike glucose did not increase circulating insulin. The duration of the corticosterone response again increased in the order starch diet<lard diet<corn-oil diet. The concentrations of circulating glucose were increased by fructose feeding in rats maintained on these diets, but they were not altered in the rats maintained on the 41B pellets. A prolonged increase in serum corticosterone concentrations was also observed when fructose was fed to rats maintained on pelleted diets enriched with corn oil or beef tallow rather than with starch or sucrose. However, these effects were less marked than those seen with rats fed on the powdered diets. 5. These results are discussed in relation to the mechanism whereby high dietary fat exaggerates the effects of ethanol, fructose and sorbitol in stimulating triacylglycerol synthesis in the liver.

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