Study under review: Differing effects of high-fat or highcarbohydrate meals on food hedonics in overweight and obese individuals
Overeating can be a much more complex phenomenon than you’d think. Figure 1 shows an extremely simplified framework of food intake regulation. Each category listed comprises many, many variables. Fiber content, palatability, convenience, and even eating with friends can all alter our food consumption. One obvious variable that plays a major role is satiety. Satiety is the feeling of fullness experienced after having a meal. As we eat, signals from the digestive system tell the brain about the quantity and quality of what was eaten. The brain integrates these signals, and as they build over the course of a meal, the brain generates a growing feeling of satiety. However, there are other factors at play that can generate different levels of satiety.
Adapted from: Finlayson et al. Curr Obes Rep. 2012 Mar.Macronutrient composition and food hedonics are two such factors. Food hedonics is comprised of food liking and food wanting. Food liking is the “perceived pleasurable sensory properties of food” such as taste, smell, and texture. Food wanting is the “attraction towards a specific food over available alternatives”.
It has been established that protein consistently exhibits the most pronounced effect on satiety of the three macronutrients. Carbohydrates and fat deliver the same amount of satiety per calorie when caloric density and palatability are matched. High-fat foods do commonly exhibit lower satiety per calorie, but that appears to be due to calorie-density and palatability. The metabolic and behavioral mechanisms that lead to the overconsumption of calorically dense foods are not fully understood. It is possible that the hedonic value of foods prior to consuming a meal can influence appetite and caloric intake.
The hedonic value of food liking and food wanting was evaluated in this study. The current body of evidence examining the effects of food macronutrient composition on hedonics are somewhat mixed. There remains some debate over the contributions of dietary fat and carbohydrate in the promotion of overconsumption, and there hasn’t been much research on the interaction between food hedonics and macronutrient content. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the effect of meals differing in dietary fat and carbohydrate on caloric intake, satiety, and food hedonics in people who are overweight or obese. Illuminating these effects could provide further tools to people attempting to lose weight.
Many variables affect how much food we consume. These include feelings of satiety and the hedonic value of food, food liking and food wanting. The purpose of this study was to investigate how manipulating macronutrient composition of meals throughout the day would affect satiety and the hedonic response to a subsequent food exposure in people who were overweight or obese.
Other Articles in Issue #18 (April 2016)
HDL: When good cholesterol breaks bad
LDL is commonly referred to as “bad”, whereas HDL is “good”. Like many other labels, these are oversimplified, especially as HDL-raising drugs have failed. This study explores why that might be.
Interview: Aaron Blaisdell, PhD
Dr. Blaisdell heads up a cognition research lab at UCLA, and is a central figure in the movement to research links between ancestral health and modern health.
Does omega status depend on your genes?
Genetic data could end up rewriting some aspects of nutrition literature. This study looked at people from different locales around the world, to see if they metabolize certain fats differently depending on their genes
Peanuts redux: following up on infant peanut exposure
We previously covered a major trial that suggested peanut avoidance was a bad idea for infants at risk of allergy. The researchers continued with those study subjects up to age 6, to see if the results still apply
Does this gluten make me look fat?
Links between gluten and weight gain haven’t been seen so much in observational evidence, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. This animal study is one of the first to look at a potential mechanism
Interview: Paul Jaminet, PhD
Dr. Jaminet is the CEO of a promising biotech targeting solid tumors. Here, he explains the science and business behind an innovative potential therapy that targets cancer from a new angle
Add fuel to the fire … or take it away?
Competitive endurance athletes manipulate their carb intake in various ways, and those aren’t always based on evidence. A new carb-cycling strategy may help to shave off precious seconds.
Don’t drink and drive, unless it’s grape juice
Red wine may get all the attention, but grapes (and grape juice) have benefits of their own. This randomized trial tested daily grape juice intake, not just for typical cognitive tests, but also for driving performance
ALA: Alliterative (anti)Longevity Aid?
ALA is used for a variety of purposes, such as for blood sugar control and potential longevity benefits. But this new evidence plants a seed of warning for those taking ALA over long periods of time.