Food texture’s influence on “feeling fuller for longer”

A new meta-analysis emphasises the need for the next generation of “health conscious” products to focus on food texture to enhance the feeling of being full.

Food texture is often an underestimated element in food design and processing.

Now, a team of interdisciplinary researchers at University of Leeds funded by Horizon 2020 European Research Council (ERC) Project LubSat have undertaken the first systematic review and meta-analyses on effects of food texture – its form, viscosity, structural complexity- on satiety, which refers to the feeling of being “fuller for longer”.

Their findings, published today in Scientific Reports, reveals that both solid and higher viscous food significantly reduce hunger and promote satiety when compared to liquid and low viscous food.

This study highlights that a focus on food texture and the development of satiety-enhancing food can be a promising strategy to reduce food intake and encourage weight management.

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. To maintain a healthy weight, it is required that the quantity of energy consumed matches the quantity of energy expended.

Therefore, one promising approach adopted by food scientists, nutritionists and psychologists has been to design or optimise food to achieve satiety so that you feel fuller for longer. This leads directly to a reduction in dietary energy intake and at the same time reduces hunger as a motivation to keep snacking.

Lead author Ecaterina Stribițcaia, a PhD Student in the School of Food Science and Nutrition at Leeds, said: “There is an immense need for applying nutritional prevention strategies to change our food environment and a complete understanding of all the elements that can contribute to that change is key.

“On an individual level, if you are aiming for healthy options, picking food that is going to keep you fuller for longer is a good idea. Our findings suggest that these are foods that are solid or have a higher viscosity – gels opposed to liquids. In other words, reach for the apple rather than the apple juice.”

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The paper Food texture influences on satiety: Systematic review and meta-analysis is published in Scientific Reports on 31 July 2020