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An Appetite for Health through Nutrition

Groundbreaking data from the Full4Health and Satiety-Innovation (SATIN) projects suggest that different countries (cultures) and people (gender, body mass, age) need to be considered when defining and designing foods to promote within-meal satiation and between-meal satiety.

In theory, weight loss is easy, whereby calorie intake is less than expenditure. However, in practice, this is often difficult to achieve in the medium- to long-term by obese subjects.

One of the main reasons for failure to adhere to a diet is feeling hungry. We do not understand the variability in psychological and behavioural parameters of hunger/satiety and food preference during energy deficit (exercise or diet induced) across the life course, and how these manipulations relate to gut hormones, neural activation and energy metabolism.

Two multidisciplinary research teams will be joining forces to present new and exciting data on the role of food in appetite control at this year’s Vitafoods Europe Conference. We will reveal findings from two projects funded by EU grants—Full4Health and Satiety-Innovation (SATIN). Both have an emphasis on data from human intervention studies that are directly relevant to the food sector.

Together, we have investigated the mechanisms of hunger, satiety and feeding behaviour, and how these change across the life course. We have also explored the effects of dietary components and food structure on these processes, and their possible exploitation in addressing obesity, chronic disease and undernutrition.

At the conference, we will present data on the important role of breakfast on appetite control in young people to influence energy balance. We will discuss the role of protein for an ageing population in the prevention of sarcopenia (loss of lean mass). These data suggest that different countries (cultures) and people (gender, body mass, age) need to be considered when defining and designing foods to promote within-meal satiation and between-meal satiety.

This is a fundamental finding of these groundbreaking studies, where similar protocols have been applied across the lifespan. Our current limited understanding of how to alter appetite to avoid or treat obesity does not address these issues. Clearly a “one diet approach" does not fit all people. Public health advice and food strategies need to be tailored to specific phenotypes to generate a sustainable and healthy approach for appetite control.

Our new data suggest that our physiology and psychology (liking/wanting) are key areas that can be manipulated by the food or diet we eat. With the food industry, we can further use these data to design and test food products to generate modulation of appetite control.

The role of energy density and dietary fibre will be discussed at the conference in the context of appetite control. Fibre may be useful in the treatment of obesity by facilitating compliance to low calorie intake. Fibre can impact satiety in several ways: it increases food volume, decreases energy density, increases gastric volume, retards gastric emptying (which maximises early satiety signals) and influences satiety hormones in the gut. Increasing fibre intake during weight maintenance, however, has limited impact on body weight control.

To learn more about our research, register for the Vitafoods Europe Conference.

Alexandra Johnstone, Ph.D., and professor Julian Mercer of the Rowett Institute will present results from Full4Health in a dedicated weight management session at the Vitafoods Europe Conference, running from 9.30am on Tuesday 10 May 2016. Also appearing in the session will be Angela Bonnema, Ph.D., senior nutrition scientist at Cargill, and Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, Ph.D., professor of molecular physiology & biochemistry at the University of Liverpool, who will present findings from SATIN.

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