Mung bean protein may reduce negative effects of a high fat diet, says new animal study

August 15, 2018

An animal study found that adding a mung bean protein isolate to a high-fat diet reduced diet-induced weight gain, fat mass accumulation, and hepatic steatosis.

An animal study1 found that adding a mung bean protein isolate (Glucodia by Fuji Plant Protein Labs; San Francisco, CA) to a high-fat diet reduced diet-induced weight gain, fat mass accumulation, and hepatic steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver).

Published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, the study randomly assigned conventionally raised mice to either a high-fat diet or high-fat diet with mung bean protein isolate for four weeks. At the same time, germ-free mice were also randomized to either a high-fat diet or high-fat diet with mung bean protein for four weeks. Over the course of the study, researchers measured body weight weekly, and at the end, fecal droppings were collected. The mice were then euthanized and their liver, cecum, epididymal, perirenal, and subcutaneous adipose tissues were harvested and weighted. The researchers examined both conventionally raised mice and germ-free mice in order to analyze and compare any changes in the gut microbiome.

Results showed that the conventionally raised mice fed a high-fat diet with mung bean protein exhibited less weight gain at the end of the second week, and the difference in body weight between those mice that consumed mung bean protein and those that did not increased over time. The weights of epididymal, perirenal, and subcutaneous adipose tissues were also lower in the mung bean group although there was no significant difference in weight of the cecum between groups. Additionally, the weight of the liver in mice from the mung bean protein group was lower as well, and there was a significant reduction in hepatic triglyceride levels and reduced cytoplasmic vacuolation, indicating an alleviation in steatosis.

As mentioned, the germ-free mice were used to determine the influence gut microbiota had on the beneficial metabolic effects. Results in the germ-free mice demonstrated that the influence of gut microbiota was significant because there was no difference in body and tissue weight between the high-fat diet and high-fat diet plug mung bean protein groups among germ-free mice. There was no alleviation in hepatic steatosis either.

Mice who consumed mung bean protein also had elevated levels of gut microbiotia-mediated glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and as a result had dramatically enlarged cecal bile acid pools and elevated levels of secondary bile acids. This was not the case in germ-free mice. “The fact that the anti-obesity effects of consuming [mung bean protein isolate] were abolished in [germ-free] mice indicates that the beneficial effects of [mung bean protein isolate] consumption follow a mechanism that depends on the presence of the gut microbiota,” wrote Nakatani et al.

References:

1. Nakatani A et al. “Dietary mung bean protein reduces high-fat diet-induced weight gain by modulating host bile acid metabolism in a gut microbiota-dependent manner.” Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, vol. 501, no. 4 (2018): 955-961