The yoghurt brand Shape Lasting Satisfaction from Danone was the test product used in the study, which was published in the journal Food Quality and Preference.
They study was supported by Danone Research, and involved four of its France based researchers as well as a UK advisor to the company.
The authors of this study claim that the consumption of low-energy dense products within the context of a healthy, balanced and low-energy dense diet, that is also high in fibre and micronutrients, could be an acceptable strategy to improve the control of appetite.
Maintaining energy balance by controlling appetite is a key strategy to prevent weight gain, which is a major health problem.
Indeed, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117bn per year in the US alone, the opportunities for a scientifically-substantiated weight management food product are impressive.
The market for food, beverage and supplement weight management products is already valued at $3.64bn (2009 figures) in the US, according to Euromonitor. In Western Europe, the market was worth $1.3bn in 2009, with satiety – or boosting the feeling of fullness – a growing area.
Because protein and fibre have been demonstrated to be potent modulators of short-term appetite, the researchers said they wanted to test the efficiency of Danone’s commercially available low-fat yogurt enriched with these nutrients in terms of reducing short-term appetite.
They explained that two studies were designed to compare the effects of the test product to a control product, which was a non-enriched, also commercially available, low-fat yogurt.
In Study one, the authors said that they hypothesised that one commercial serving of the test product consumed mid-morning would reduce appetite feelings more over the following two hours than an iso-energetic control.
In Study two, the iso-energetic control was replaced by a control matched for weight.
The authors reported that study one was conducted in the UK with 24 healthy non-dieting women, with a mean age of 28.7 years and a mean BMI of 24.8 kg/m2. The suitability of each potential participant was confirmed prior to acceptance onto the study by review of a screening questionnaire.
And study two, they continued, was run in France with 121 healthy women, with a mean age of 32.1 years and a mean BMI of 25.0 kg/m2, with the selection procedure involving a clinical examination, assessment of medical history and the completion of a questionnaire on dietary habits and behaviour.
All participants were financially compensated, added the authors.
Both studies were single-blinded, controlled trials, they said, with the two products (control and test) administered in a counterbalanced sequence as a midmorning snack, two hours after the beginning of consumption of a fixed breakfast.
The researchers reported that each treatment was separated by a one week washout period, and participants were instructed to eat until they were comfortably full, within a maximum of 30 minutes.
To test the hypothesis that changes in appetite feelings would be accompanied by changes in subsequent energy intake, food intake was measured at lunch, two hours after the consumption of the study products, they said.
In both studies, between breakfast and snack, and between snack and lunch, participants had access to a bottle of mineral water (25 cl), and the weight of foods consumed at each eating episode and the weight of water drunk were measured out of the sight of the participants, explained the researchers.
In both studies, the authors found that the test product induced a significant 16 per cent reduction in appetite score, and a significant reduction of subjective appetite (all ratings), compared to non-enriched commercially available controls: “Such concordance, despite differences in methodology and design, suggests these findings are robust and reliable,” said the researchers.
In Study one, they said that the control and test products were matched for energy and differed slightly in weight (33 gram more for test product) and that this small difference in mass could have explained, at least in part, the differences observed in appetite feelings.
“However, in Study 2, where test and control products were matched for weight, the test product still significantly reduced subjective appetite ratings compared to the control, despite its slight deficit in energy content (41.9 kJ less in the test product),” concluded the authors.
Source: Journal of Food Quality and Preference
Published online ahead of print: doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2009.10.001
Title: Short-term appetite-reducing effects of a low-fat dairy product enriched with protein and fibre
Authors: Lluch, A., et al.