Protein selection by rats adapted to high or moderately low levels of dietary protein

Jean K. Tews, Joyce J. Repa, Alfred E. Harper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


After preliminary studies on flavor acceptability, patterns and indices of subsequent feeding behavior were monitored by computer in young rats which were adapted to 15% or 70% casein diets before being offered, sequentially, choices between flavored diet pairs in which the proportions of percentage casein were 5 65, 5 55, 5 45, 5 35 and 5 25. Similarly adapted rats received these choices in the reverse sequence. Rats adapted to 15% casein usually ate randomly from the diet pairs and selected approximately 15-30% casein; individual behaviors were prominent. The 70% casein groups avoided the higher casein diet, often within minutes (except for the first-offered 5 25 choice), and seldom selected more than 10% casein; individual differences were infrequent. Such rats also distinguished between flavored 70% and 65% casein diets. Sizes and numbers of meals and rates of eating differed for the paired diets, especially for rats adapted to 70% casein. A flavor added to the 70% casein adaptation diet was not avoided when present only in the 5% casein diet of a 5 65 choice. Rats adapted to 70% soy protein before receiving flavored 5 65 to 5 25 choices selected 20-28% soy protein, a level far above those of casein selections by rats adapted to 70% casein. Dietary adaptation and type of protein thus affect subsequent diet selection and feeding patterns and indices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)699-712
Number of pages14
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1992


  • Adaptation
  • Behavior
  • Diet
  • Food choice
  • Food intake
  • Growth
  • Protein selection
  • Protein source

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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