Effect of caloric intake and macronutrient composition on intestinal cholesterol absorption and bile acids in patients with obesity

Anas Mohamad Hashem, Lizeth Cifuentes, Gerardo Calderon, Maria Laura Ricardo-Silgado, Daniel Gonzalez-Izundegui, Alejandro Campos, Alison McRae, Shawna Franks, Maria Daniela Hurtado, Duane Burton, Xuan Mai Petterson, Ian R. Lanza, Michael Camilleri, Andres Acosta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity is associated with alterations in cholesterol and bile acid (BA) metabolism. However, the interaction among dietary intake, cholesterol absorption, and BA metabolism in patients with obesity remains unclear. We conducted a 4-wk nutritional intervention nonrandomized clinical trial with three different sequential diets for a week in the following order: regular diet (RD); high calorie, high-fat diet (HCHF), washout period on RD; and low-calorie, low-fat diet (LCLF). We provided participants with meal replacements during HCHF and LCLF diets. A total of 16 participants completed the study [n = 8 normal weight (NW); n = 8 with obesity (OB)]. Overall, there was a significant increase in intestinal cholesterol uptake when changing from RD to HCHF and a reduction in intestinal cholesterol uptake from HCHF to LCLF. When analyzing by BMI groups, these findings were similar in patients with NW (RD to HCHF: P < 0.007; HCHF to LCLF: P = 0.02); however, in patients with obesity, the change in intestinal cholesterol uptake was only observed when changing from RD to HCHF (P = 0.006). There was no correlation between cholesterol absorption and fecal bile acids or other markers of BA metabolism in all patients or the subgroups. Dietary caloric content had a significant effect on cholesterol absorption, however, this effect is blunted in patients with obesity. These data are consistent with the impaired effect of a low-fat diet on cholesterol absorption in obesity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G157-G164
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • bile acids
  • caloric intake
  • cholesterol
  • fat
  • obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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