Influences on Appetite and Energy Intake: Nestlé Scientists Chew the Facts

To other newsLausanne, Switzerland,Oct 5, 2012

What are the main factors that influence how we regulate food and energy intake? Is it due to the type and energy content of the food; the amount of sensory exposure (taste, chewing); the volume of the food; or a combination of all of these?

Nestlé Research Center scientists in Lausanne, Switzerland, in collaboration with scientists from Wageningen University, The Netherlands, set out to understand these combined influences on food intake and satiety. 

This is the first human study to examine the effects of both oral and gastric stimulation (at the same time and independently) on energy intake and appetite. Four experimental conditions were tested and compared with a control group. The experimental conditions consisted of a combination of one or eight minutes of oral stimulation (chewing a food but not swallowing), and gastric stimulation with either 100 mL or 800 mL of (isocaloric) liquid given through a nasogastric tube. A nasogastric tube was placed in control subjects, but neither oral nor gastric stimulation was performed.

Thirty minutes after the stimulations, volunteers were offered a meal in which they could eat as much as they liked (ad libitum).The appetite and wellbeing of the volunteers was assessed using questionnaires that were completed immediately before and after stimulation, 15 minutes after the stimulation ended, and before and after the meal. 

After the simulations, volunteers were offered a meal in which they could eat until they felt satisfied

Results revealed that there was a significant decrease in the ad libitum food intake of volunteers who chewed the food for 8 minutes compared to control subjects. However, there was no major difference in food intake between the control condition and the one-minute oral stimulation. No significant differences in energy intake were found for the varying gastric stimulation conditions (100 mL and 800 mL). 

All test conditions with oral and gastric stimulation significantly decreased subjects’ appetite ratings compared to the control condition.

Based on these findings, Nestlé scientists suggest that the duration of oral sensory stimulation (chewing, taste, etc) has an important influence on energy intake and satiety.

“Our results emphasize the importance of oral sensory stimulation in the regulation of food intake,” said Dr. Alfrun Erkner, Nestlé research scientist involved in the study. “However, follow-up studies are needed for a better understanding of the interaction of these oral and gastric factors on eating behaviour. This work provides the scientific understanding that will contribute to future product development.”

Related information:

Current Study: ‘Effects of oral and gastric stimulation on appetite and energy intake’, published in Obesity:

Wageningen University


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