Protein Suppresses Appetite More Than Fat or Carbohydrates

Anestis Dougkas, MSc, PhD Food for Health Science Centre Lund University Lund, Interview with:
Anestis Dougkas, MSc, PhD
Food for Health Science Centre
Lund University Lund, Sweden

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Dr. Dougkas: There has been an increased interest in the macronutrient profile of diets and meals as a factor that influences appetite. Dietary protein is considered as the most satiating macronutrient, yet there is little evidence on whether the effects observed are attributed to the protein or to the concomitant manipulation of carbohydrates and fat. The aim was to examine the effect of consumption of beverages varying in macronutrient content on appetite ratings, energy intake and appetite-regulating hormones.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Dr. Dougkas: Increased protein content suppressed more average appetite than carbohydrate and fat with a more pronounced effect of protein intake on subjective ratings of prospective consumption. Protein was also the most influential macronutrient for postprandial glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1, an appetite- suppressing hormone) response. This appetite-suppressing effect of protein was independent of the changes in fat and carbohydrates.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Dougkas: Based on ratings of various appetite responses, we have clearly shown that among the three macronutrients, fat is the least satiating. Glucagon-like peptide 1 and GLP-1 analogs have received much recent attention for potential treatment of obesity via its appetite suppressive effect. Our findings suggest that a lower carbohydrate-to-fat ratio within a high protein drink could stimulate postprandial GLP-1 response. However, the differences in appetite ratings and physiological signals were probably of modest magnitude to reduce subsequent energy intake at lunch. Given that hunger is the main reason why people fail to comply with a weight loss diet, by adjusting the nutritional profile of a meal, especially replacing fat with protein could make dieting more endurable.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Dougkas: Additional research is required to reveal the differential effect of various sources of macronutrients on appetite and in different population subgroups (e.g. obese individuals). Studies with complex designs using different quantities and sources or types of protein, carbohydrate and fat and measuring simultaneously the effects on appetite responses, energy intake and appetite-regulating hormones would be of great value.


Association for the Study of Obesity 2015 presentation discussing:

More evidence that protein is the most hunger-satisfying nutrient Interview with: Anestis Dougkas, MSc, PhD (2015). Protein Suppresses Appetite More Than Fat or Carbohydrates 

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Last Updated on March 3, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD