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The science of slowing down hunger

A growing number of studies show consumers stay fuller for longer and eat less after a fiber and protein-enriched snack.

Bakeries have never been an obvious place to go looking for weight management foods. But there is every reason to look again. As vehicles for fiber and protein, bakery products can help combat the main reason why many diet regimes fail – hunger between meals.

Today, hunger reduction is a frequent goal of body weight control. And it’s more than a hunch that fiber and protein make a difference. Clinical studies provide mounting evidence that fiber and protein-enriched foods help consumers to feel fuller for longer, leading to lower calorie consumption throughout the day.

Healthier eating choices
In one recent study1 where DuPont Nutrition & Health was a partner, teenagers given an afternoon snack with soy protein made both a later request for their evening meal and then healthier eating choices during the evening.

Similar results have been obtained in clinical studies of fiber supplementation, which have investigated the hunger-dampening effect of polydextrose. In 2014, DuPont scientists led a meta-analysis of six such studies2. The conclusion was that study participants generally consumed 12.5% less energy after an earlier snack with polydextrose.

Blood sugar and gut hormones
Why fiber and protein should have this satiating effect, we are not yet completely sure.  However, scientific research has given insight into some of the mechanisms.

One of them is that neither soy protein nor polydextrose has much effect on blood sugar levels. In other words, the energy they contain is metabolized and released more slowly into the blood stream than carbohydrates such as sugar, which release energy more quickly and cause blood sugar to spike.

Another mechanism relates to gut hormones, which send a signal to the appetite control center in the brain that food intake should be reduced after meals. Soy protein is known to stimulate the release of one such hormone – cholecystokinin (CKK). Polydextrose consumption, on the other hand, enhances secretion of GLP-1, a gut peptide that slows digestion and, subsequently, reduces intake of food.

High quality vegetable protein
Compared to carbohydrates, the body also spends about 10% more energy on breaking protein down – a process that both reduces the amount of calories absorbed and ensures the bioavailability of essential nutrients.  Of all vegetable proteins, soy is the most nutritionally complete due to its high content of essential amino acids and digestibility. This makes it a good choice from a general health perspective.

Get in touch if you want to know more about the science behind fiber and protein for satiety and weight management. Our nutrition and health scientists will be happy to share insights with you.

You can read more about bakery solutions with added fiber and protein in this issue of Bakery Performance. Fiber and protein sources typically work well together in most bakery applications.

The studies mentioned here made use of Litesse® polydextrose and SUPRO® isolated soy protein from the DuPont™ Danisco® range.

References:

  1. Leidy H, Shafer R, Todd C & Ortinau L. The effects of a high-protein afternoon snack containing soy on appetite control, satiety, and subsequent food intake in young people. 2014. The FASEB Journal, vol. 28, no. 1 supplement (381.7)
  2. Ibarra A, Astbury NM, Olli K, Alhoniemi E & Tiihonen K. Effects of polydextrose on different levels of energy intake. A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2015. Appetite, 87C, pp30-37