We report the effects of zinc deficiency on normal feeding behavior in rats and the effects of zinc deficiency on stress-induced eating in rats. Zinc deficient (ZD) rats weighed significantly less than their pair-fed and ad lib controls. Zinc repletion allowed improved growth, but ZD rats never displayed catch-up growth compared to their ad lib controls. ZD rats rapidly developed a depressed food efficiency ratio which normalized with zinc supplementation. Food consumption in ZD rats was approximately one-third that of ad lib controls and water intake was also significantly reduced. Mild tail pinch was able to induce feeding in these normally anorexic ZD rats. We conclude that zinc deficiency represents an interesting model of anorexia which may enhance our understanding of appetite regulation.
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