Sport Sciences for Health

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 319–328 | Cite as

Mild energy restriction and physical swimming activity: biochemical effects and food preference in male rats

  • Mariana de Sá Ramalho
  • Nathália Caroline de Oliveira Melo
  • Ana Patrícia Jaques Marquesa Quidute Araújo
  • Giselia de Santana Muniz
  • Elizabeth do NascimentoEmail author
Original Article



Caloric restriction at the beginning of life has been associated with the development of chronic diseases in adulthood. However, physical exercise can be advocated as a non-invasive intervention to minimize adverse effects.


Female Wistar rats were fed either a normocaloric or hypocaloric diet from the third week of gestation to the end of lactation. The offspring were also submitted to either a normocaloric or hypocaloric diet and were allocated to groups with or without physical exercise. Thus, six groups were formed: normocaloric–normocaloric-inactive—NNI (n = 9), normocaloric–normocaloric-active—NNA (n = 7), hypocaloric–normocaloric-inactive—HNI (n = 8), hypocaloric–normocaloric-active—NHA (n = 9), hypocaloric–hypocaloric-inactive—HHI (n = 6) and hypocaloric–hypocaloric-active—HHA (n = 6). Body weight, food consumption and preference, biochemical variables, visceral fat and organ weight were evaluated.


Perinatal energy restriction led to lower body weight during the lactation period, but with recovery in all groups after weaning. No difference in food intake was found among the groups, but the food preference test revealed that the continual energy restriction and physical activity were associated with a preference for carbohydrates. Continuous energy restriction exerted a harmful effect on biochemical variables such as glucose, LDL-c and total cholesterol. Lipid recovery serum, however, was observed in the HNA group.


Metabolic changes were more pronounced in animals submitted to a continual hypocaloric diet, but physical activity proved to be beneficial with regard to some of the analyzed variables.


Caloric restriction Metabolism Exercise Diet Rats 



The authors would like to acknowledge the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq), the Coordination of Improvement of Higher Level Personnel Program of Academic Excellence (CAPES-PROEX 1734/2015) and financial support the Foundation for the Support of Science and Technology of the State of Pernambuco (FACEPE- IBPG-0604-4.05/14).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This study received approval from the Animal Experimentation Ethics Committee of the Center for Biological Science of the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) (certificate no.: 23076.028444-2012-73) and followed the Guidelines for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals.

Informed consent

All participants provided informed consent prior to their participation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mariana de Sá Ramalho
    • 1
  • Nathália Caroline de Oliveira Melo
    • 1
  • Ana Patrícia Jaques Marquesa Quidute Araújo
    • 1
  • Giselia de Santana Muniz
    • 2
  • Elizabeth do Nascimento
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Nutrition Postgraduate ProgramFederal University of Pernambuco (UFPE)RecifeBrazil
  2. 2.Nutrition DepartmentFederal University of Pernambuco (UFPE)RecifeBrazil

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