Flight activity and glycogen depletion on a low-carbohydrate diet

Hugh S. Winwood-Smith, Craig R. White, Craig E. Franklin

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Glycogen is a critical store for locomotion. Depleted glycogen stores are associated with increased fatigue during exercise. The reduced effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets for weight loss over longer time periods may arise because such diets reduce glycogen stores and thereby energy expenditure via physical activity. To explore the effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on activity and glycogen utilisation, we fed adult Drosophila melanogaster a standard or low-carbohydrate diet for 9 days and measured patterns of flight activity and rates of glycogen depletion. We hypothesised that flight activity and rates of glycogen depletion would be reduced on a low-carbohydrate diet. Flight activity was elevated in the low-carbohydrate group but glycogen depletion rates were unchanged. We conclude that increased activity is probably a foraging response to carbohydrate deficiency and speculate that the previously demonstrated metabolic depression that occurs on a low-carbohydrate diet in this species may allow for increased flight activity without increased glycogen depletion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb228379
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2020


  • Drosophila
  • Energy
  • Metabolism
  • Obesity
  • Plasticity
  • Protein

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