Watching what you eat: foods having delayed effect on appetite

On a very low energy diet(often called VLCD), the dieter starts considering each additional item of  food or drink on the basis of the energy it will add.   Science has provided another basis for considering foods:  the subsequent effect on appetite.  I want to list a few where it will be interesting to watch for future research:

1. Milk products:  In those with a low calcium intake, reduce feelings of hunger more than an energy-matched drink. The calcium and protein in milk may be the triggers for this effect.(1, 2)

2. fats and oils

The short-term effect of fats is to reduce the sensation of hunger shortly after the fatty acids from digestion of fats reach the duodenum.   Surprisingly small amounts of oil can have this effect, but in those who eat much fat it is suppressed –  the whole matter of fat digestion is horribly complex (3)   However, improved sensitivity was measured in obese men after 4 days on a VLCD . (4)

Unfortunately, it has been found that eating fats/oils  does not always reduce appetite later, and may increase appetite the next day (5).   This fits with anecdotal evidence – for example, following a cheesecake relapse, a dieter experienced more hunger than usual the next two days, where the same effect was not felt after a protein-binge.

More confusingly, the type of oil is important – for example, fish oil seems to add less energy (that is, result in less fat) than do maize oil or beef fat. (6)

3. Citrates

Lemon juice, and various similar chemicals often added to cordials.   In some people, citrates seem to make it more difficult to adhere to a VLCD.  This may be linked to  the role of citric acid in favouring gluconeogenesis over ketogenesis (7).  (VLCDs emphasise ketogenesis for weight loss.  Making glucose inside the body does burn energy, but seems linked to increased appetite

Research needed:

Most studies emphasise same-day or long-term effects of particular food types.   More reliable studies on two- or three-day effects on appetite and perceived tiredness/energy levels, with titles showing on net searches, would be welcome.


1. Gilbert JA, Joanisse DR, Chaput JP, Miegueu P, Cianflone K, Alméras N, Tremblay A.   (2011)  “Milk supplementation facilitates appetite control in obese women during weight loss: a randomised, single-blind, placebo-controlled trial.”     Br J Nutr. 105(1):133-43.

2. Major GC, Alarie FP, Doré J, Tremblay A. (2009) “Calcium plus vitamin D supplementation and fat mass loss in female very low-calcium consumers: potential link with a calcium-specific appetite control.” Br J Nutr. 101(5):659-63.

3. Little, Tanya J. and Feinle-Bisset, C  (2010)  “Oral and Gastrointestinal Sensing of Dietary Fat and Appetite Regulation in Humans: Modification by Diet and Obesity” Front Neurosci. 2010; 4: 178. Published online 2010 October 19. Prepublished online 2010 May 20. doi:  10.3389/fnins.2010.00178


Brennan, I M,  Seimon, R V, Luscombe-Marsh, N D, Otto, B, Horowitz, M and Feinle-Bisset C (2011). “Effects of acute dietary restriction on gut motor, hormone and energy intake responses to duodenal fat in obese men” International Journal of Obesity 35, 448–456; doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.153; published online 3 August 2010

5. (does not display well in my browser, but deserves credit for links to the fulltext article

Blundell, JE, Burley, VJ,  Cotton, JR, and Lawton CL  (1993) “Dietary fat and the control of energy intake: evaluating the effects of fat on meal size and postmeal satiety.”  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol 57, 772S-778S

6.Jang IS, Hwang DY, Chae KR, Lee JE, Kim YK, Kang TS, Hwang JH, Lim CH, Huh YB, Cho JS. (2003) “Role of dietary fat type in the development of adiposity from dietary obesity-susceptible Sprague-Dawley rats.”  Br J Nutr. 2003 Mar;89(3):429-38.

7. Kreitzman, S.N. (1992)  Factors influencing body composition during very-low-calorie diets   Am J Clin Nutr 56:217S-23S.


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