Document Type



Poor diets and alcohol are known to affect both behavior and overall health. Each by itself can produce an increase in anxiety and can affect insulin and leptin, important indicators of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. This project investigated how combined high-fat diet and access to alcohol affected feeding and drinking behaviors, anxiety-like behaviors, glucose tolerance, and leptin and insulin levels in C57BL/6J male and female mice. Mice were separated into three food groups: high-fat diet, low-fat diet, and regular chow and each group was paired with either water or forced 10%-alcohol. Weekly body weight, and food and drink intake measurements were recorded. Anxiety-like behaviors were measured using the open-field and light-dark box. Hedonic substitution was tested to determine if the addition of a high-fat diet or alcohol would affect alcohol or diet preference, respectively. Mice consuming high-fat diets exhibited increased insulin and leptin levels, but alcohol consumption had no effect on these hormones. There were differences between the high-fat diet and regular chow with respect to explorative behaviors in the open field test; both males and females given alcohol showed more anxiety-like behavior in the light dark box test. High-fat diet mice had the most impaired glucose tolerance compared to the regular chow and low-fat diet; mice consuming high-fat diet and alcohol combined had slightly improved glucose tolerance for both sexes. Females overall were more active than males. These results suggest that consumption of high-fat diets are more powerful in affecting behavior and health compared to moderate alcohol consumption and that physiologically, males are more affected by the high-fat diet than females.



Thesis Comittee

Joseph Seggio (Thesis Director)

M. Caitlin Fisher-Reid

Heather Marella

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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Biology Commons