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Sensory cues lift beverage satiety, ensure diners miss just desserts - study

By Ben Bouckley , 30-Nov-2012

A UK study found that the satiating power of a high energy beverage was lifted by thickening it, with subjects eating less ice cream at a later lunch, but that labeling information had no effect.

Published in the August 2012 issue of Food Quality and Preference, the Chambers et al. study found that presenting a high energy beverage under conditions generating strong expectations of satiety enhanced the satiating effects of its nutrients.

But contrary to predictions, the team’s “novel finding” was that label characteristics carrying satiety messages (accurate according to energy content) had no effect upon satiety.

Summarizing previous research in this field, Chambers et al. said that their recent research showed that the sensory experience of a food generates expectations that interact with the post-ingestive effects of nutrients to determine short-term satiety.

“The satiating power of a fruit yogurt beverage increased as its sensory properties of creaminess and thickness became more consistent with the actual energy content,” the scientists wrote, citing Yeomans & Chambers 2011.

‘Keep you fuller throughout the day’

48 healthy female staff and students from the University of Sussex took part in two days of satiety testing, and on both days prior to a test lunch consumed a fruit yogurt beverage as a preload: on one day a high energy (HE) version, on the other a low energy (LE) version.

Subjects drank the beverages either thickened with added creamy flavors (using tara gum) or thinner, less creamy versions, and either with or without labeling message about their actual (real) satiating power and actual energy content.

The low satiety label for low energy beverages carried the brand name ‘Lighten’ and the strapline ‘drink between meals without filling you’; the high satiety ‘Stayfull’ brand carried the strap ‘keep you fuller throughout the day’. Accompanying labels are pictured right.

“It was predicted that the high energy beverage would be most satiating when presented in a way that generated the strongest satiety expectations: when it tasted thick and creamy and was labeled with a high satiety message.”

Thick and creamy context…

Energy consumed at the test lunch (comprising pasta with sauce and ice cream) and appetite ratings were used to assess satiety responses to the beverages.

“The extent to which the high energy beverage was satiating was dependent on its sensory quality: after consuming it in a thick and creamy context, participants reported enhanced fullness and consumed significantly less of the dessert presented at the test lunch.

“Providing labeled information about the satiating power of the beverages had no impact on sensations of appetite or intake at the test lunch.”

The team concluded that sensory cues and not explicit labeled information present at the time of consumption could influence the satiating power of a high energy beverage.

But they noted that the thickened low energy beverage did not reduce food intake in this study.

“On the contrary, there is evidence…that the low energy version of the preload with the added tara gum actually promoted appetite, a finding more easily explained by cognitive rather than physiological processes,” Chambers et al wrote.

Title: Can the satiating power of a high energy beverage be improved by manipulating sensory characteristics and label information?

Authors: Chambers, L., Harvey, E., Yeomans, M.R.

Source: Food Quality & Preference 28 (2013) 271-278 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2012.08.008

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