Flavor and texture alter how full we expect a food to makes us feel

October 30, 2012

Low calorie foods may help people lose weight but there is often a problem that people using them do not feel full. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Flavour shows that subtle manipulations of texture and creamy flavour can increase the expectation that a fruit yoghurt drink will be filling and suppress hunger regardless of actual calorific content.

There is a currently a debate about satiety, how full low calorie foods and drinks make people feel and for how long, and whether or not they actually make people eat or drink more because the body is expecting more calories than are actually provided. Researchers from the University of Sussex designed an experiment to first see whether or not adding a thickening agent (tara gum) increased the sensation of thickness, stickiness and creaminess of a yoghurt drink, and then looked at how these affected expected fullness and expected satiety.

The results showed that even people who are not trained in food tasting were able to accurately pick up subtle differences in drink texture even though the taste remained the same.

In the second phase of the experiment subjects rated how filling they expected a drink to be by selecting a portion of pasta that they thought would have the same effect on their hunger as drinking a bottle of yoghurt. On average the thick drinks and the creamy drinks were expected to be more filling than the thin or non-creamy versions, and enhancing the creamy flavour of a thick drink further increased expected fullness. However their contributions to expected satiety were not equal - only thickness (and not creaminess) had an effect on the expectation that a drink would suppress hunger over time.

Keri McCrickerd, who led this study, explained, "Hunger and fullness are complicated issues because it is not just the calories in a food or drink that make it filling. Signals from the stomach are important but so too is how the drink feels in the mouth. In our study both creamy flavour and texture affected expected fullness, but only thickness seemed to affect whether was expected to be satisfied. This may be because thick texture is a characteristic of food that we associate with being full. Consumer expectations are important and our study shows that consumers are sensitive to subtle changes in oral sensory characteristics of a drink, and that thick and creamy flavour can be manipulated to enhance expectations of fullness and satiety regardless of calories."

Explore further: New research questions how fat influences flavor perception

Related Stories

New research questions how fat influences flavor perception

July 19, 2012
A joint study carried out by The University of Nottingham and the multinational food company Unilever has found for the first time that fat in food can reduce activity in several areas of the brain which are responsible for ...

New study finds familiarity increases the fullness that children expect from snack foods

October 3, 2011
New research, led by psychologists at the University of Bristol, has found that children who are familiar with a snack food will expect it to be more filling. This finding, published (online ahead of print) in the American ...

Recommended for you

One in 4 women and 1 in 6 men aged 65+ will be physically disabled in Europe by 2047

October 23, 2017
By 2047 one in four women and one in six men aged 65 and above is expected to be living with a physical disability that will severely restrict everyday activities, reveals an analysis published in the online journal BMJ Open.

Protein regulates vitamin A metabolic pathways, prevents inflammation

October 23, 2017
A team of researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine have discovered how uncontrolled vitamin A metabolism in the gut can cause harmful inflammation. The discovery links diet to inflammatory diseases, ...

New insights into controversial diagnosis of adolescent chronic fatigue

October 23, 2017
Crucial new research could provide some clarity around the controversy surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) in adolescents. The research by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute published ...

Do boys really have a testosterone spurt at age four?

October 23, 2017
The idea that four-year-old boys have a spurt of testosterone is often used to explain challenging behaviour at this age.

Our laws don't do enough to protect our health data

October 23, 2017
Have you ever wondered why your computer often shows you ads that seem tailor-made for your interests? The answer is big data. By combing through extremely large datasets, analysts can reveal patterns in your behavior.

New prevention exercise programme to reduce rugby injuries

October 23, 2017
A new dynamic 20-minute exercise programme, performed by rugby players before training and pre-match, could dramatically reduce injuries in the sport according to a benchmark study published today (Sunday 22 October).

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.