Well, it’s the New Year! Perhaps you’ve made a resolution to lose weight. If so, good for you. Of course you know and I know that it’s not that simple. For those of us who have struggled with the battle of the bulge, we know for a fact that losing weight isn’t easy. Furthermore, one of the primary reasons that this is so has to do with appetite control. Simply put, if you’re not hungry it’s easy to lose weight. If you’re not hungry you can keep your calorie consumption down, feel satisfied and easily fit into your jeans. Unfortunately, that elusive sense of satiety is hard to come by for so many overweight and obese individuals.
What would really help is something that safely and effectively helped to reduce appetite and promote satiety. Of course there are many products out there claiming to do just that. The fact is, however, that the overwhelming majority of them just don’t seem to work. The sad truth is there is no magic weight loss pill—despite marketing claims to the contrary. The good news is there are two commonly available substances that can help with appetite control and satiety. These substances are not the miracle answer to weight loss, but they may very well be able to help you with the process. These two common substances are fiber and protein—or more specifically, a certain type of fiber and protein.
Oligofructose-enriched inulin: a preferred fiber
In general, fiber is known for its ability to help suppress appetite. The way it works is that fiber absorbs water or other liquids and expands in the stomach, helping to create a full feeling. While this is generally true of any fiber, there are some types that perform better than others for this purpose. One such type, derived from Chicory root, is oligofructose and oligofructose-enriched inulin (OEI). Both oligofructose and inulin are soluble fibers, and oligofructose is also identified as a functional fiber, which means it has additional beneficial physiological effects in humans.1
In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial2 thirty-six overweight and obese men and women consumed either 12g/day OEI or placebo for three weeks, as two 6g supplements dissolved in a beverage, with breakfast and lunch. The result was the subjects using the OEI consumed significantly less calories. In another randomized double-blind, cross-over study,3 31 healthy men and women received 10g oligofructose, 16g oligofructose or 16g placebo daily for 13 days. The result was that the subjects consumed significantly less calories with 16g/ day oligofructose. In a third randomized, double blind, parallel, placebo-controlled trial,4 a total of 10 healthy adults received either 16g/ day OEI or 16g/ day placebo for two weeks. Results showed that the OEI treatment lowered hunger rates and ate less calories than the placebo group. Additional studies have shown similar results.5,6,7,8 Furthermore, other research has shown that supplementation with OEI provided additional benefits: it helped improve calcium absorption9,10,11,12 and it acted as a prebiotic that promoted the growth of healthy bifidobacteria probiotic colonies in the gut.13,14,15,16
Multiple studies17 have shown that increasing the protein content of meals without increasing total calories has resulted in subjects eating less overall calories. Furthermore, other studies18 have shown that a higher protein intake increases thermogenesis (i.e. fat burning) and satiety compared to diets of lower protein content. Some evidence suggests that diets higher in protein result in an increased weight loss and fat loss as compared to diets lower in protein.
While almost any protein source could offer satiety enhancing benefits, whey protein (WP) has been shown to be particularly effective for this purpose, as well as providing other benefits that may help support weight loss. One of the mechanisms by which it does this is that it delays gastric emptying more effectively than other forms of protein tested. In other words, it keeps food in the stomach longer so you feel fuller for a longer period of time.19 Other research20 has shown that WP was more effective than other forms of protein tested at reducing the amount of fat in the blood stream after meals in obese individuals. This not only bodes well in helping to decrease cardiovascular disease risk, but lowering blood fats is also conducive to supporting weight loss goals.
With regard to reducing appetite and improving satiety, there are so many studies that it is not practical to review them in this article. Instead, I’ll just provide the accompanying summary table below.
Losing weight can be difficult, especially when your appetite gets in the way. However, if you use some fiber and protein before a meal, you may be able to “spoil” your appetite on purpose, allowing you to eat less and feel satisfied—which is likely to bode well for your weight loss efforts.
Amount used in study Results 30g WP + 30g carbs21 • Extended the duration of satiety 20g WP 3X daily + Exercise22 • WP + exercise reduced total and regional body fat
• WP + exercise promoted healthy insulin sensitivity
54g WP/day23 • WP effectively promoted satiety and fullness 60g WP24 • Food intake was lower following ingestion WP 50% WP + 40% carb25 + 10% fat meal (average protein intake was 57g/d) • Thermogenesis was greater after WP
• Fat oxidation was greater after WP
• Glycemic response to glucose attenuated 32% by proteins
50g WPI26 • WP meal reduced appetite and decreased food intake at a subsequent meal 10–40g WP27 • WP (20–40g) reduced food intake
• WP (10–40g) reduced post-meal blood glucose and insulin
Whey-protein breakfast with protein/ carbohydrate/fat balance as:
• 10/55/35% (normal)
• 25/55/20% (high)28
• 10% WP decreased hunger
• 25% WP triggered stronger responses in hormone concentrations
50g WP taken before a meal29 • Reduced calorie intake 55g WP taken before a meal30 • Appetite and calorie intake reduced 57g WP in yogurt31 • Decreased hunger more than regular yogurt
- Slavin J. Fiber and Prebiotics: Mechanisms and Health Benefits. Nutrients. 2013 Apr; 5(4): 1417–35.
- McCann MT, Livingstone MBE, Wallace JMW, Gallagher AM, Weich RW. T1:P.082 Oligofructose-enriched Inulin supplementation decreases energy intake in overweight and obese men and women. Obes Rev. 2011;12 (Suppl. 1): 86–7.
- Verhoef SP, Meyer D, Westerterp KR. Effects of oligofructose on appetite profile, glucagon-like peptide 1 and peptide YY3-36 concentrations and energy intake. Br J Nutr. 2011 Dec;106(11):1757–62.
- Cani PD, Lecourt E, Dewulf EM, Sohet FM, Pachikian BD, Naslain D, De Backer F, Neyrinck AM, Delzenne NM. Gut microbiota fermentation of prebiotics increases satietogenic and incretin gut peptide production with consequences for appetite sensation and glucose response after a meal. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Nov;90(5):1236–43.
- Cani PD, Joly E, Horsmans Y, Delzenne NM. Oligofructose promotes satiety in healthy human: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2006 May;60(5):567-72.
- Hume M, Nicolucci A, Reimer R. Prebiotic Fiber Consumption Decreases Energy Intake in Overweight and Obese Children. FASEB J. 2015;29(1):S597.3.
- Parnell JA, Reimer RA. Weight loss during oligofructose supplementation is associated with decreased ghrelin and increased peptide YY in overweight and obese adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 Jun;89(6):1751–9.
- Daud NM, Ismail NA, Thomas EL, Fitzpatrick JA, Bell JD, Swann JR, Costabile A, Childs CE, Pedersen C, Goldstone AP, Frost GS. The impact of oligofructose on stimulation of gut hormones, appetite regulation and adiposity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jun;22(6):1430–8.
- Holloway L, Moynihan S, Abrams SA, Kent K, Hsu AR, Friedlander AL. Effects of oligofructose-enriched inulin on intestinal absorption of calcium and magnesium and bone turnover markers in postmenopausal women. Br J Nutr. 2007 Feb;97(2):365–72.
- Abrams SA, Griffin IJ, Hawthorne KM, Liang L, Gunn SK, Darlington G, Ellis KJ. A combination of prebiotic short- and long-chain inulin-type fructans enhances calcium absorption and bone mineralization in young adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr. 2005 Aug;82(2):471–6.
- Griffin IJ, Davila PM, Abrams SA. Non-digestible oligosaccharides and calcium absorption in girls with adequate calcium intakes. Br J Nutr. 2002 May;87 Suppl 2:S187–91.
- van den Heuvel EG, Muys T, van Dokkum W, Schaafsma G. Oligofructose stimulates calcium absorption in adolescents. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999 Mar;69(3):544–8.
- Gibson GR, Beatty ER, Wang X, Cummings JH. Selective stimulation of bifidobacteria in the human colon by oligofructose and inulin. Gastroenterology. 1995 Apr;108(4):975–82.
- Rao VA. The prebiotic properties of oligofructose at low intake levels. Nutr. Res. 2001;21(6):843–48.
- Langlands SJ, Hopkins MJ, Coleman N, Cummings JH. Prebiotic carbohydrates modify the mucosa associated microflora of the human large bowel. Gut. 2004 Nov;53(11):1610–6.
- Evelyne M Dewulf, Patrice D Cani, Sandrine P Claus, et al. Insight into the prebiotic concept: lessons from an exploratory, double blind intervention study with inulin-type fructans in obese women. Gut. 2013 Aug; 62(8): 1112–21.
- Yang D, Liu Z, Yang H, Jue Y. Acute effects of high-protein versus normal-protein isocaloric meals on satiety and ghrelin. Eur J Nutr. 2014;53(2):493–500.
- Halton TL, Hu FB. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Oct;23(5):373-85.
- Stanstrup J, Schou SS, Holmer-Jensen J, Hermansen K, Dragsted LO. Whey protein delays gastric emptying and suppresses plasma fatty acids and their metabolites compared to casein, gluten, and fish protein. J Proteome Res. 2014 May 2;13(5):2396–408.
- Holmer-Jensen J, Mortensen LS, Astrup A, et al. Acute differential effects of dietary protein quality on postprandial lipemia in obese non-diabetic subjects. Nutr Res. 2013 Jan;33(1):34–40.
- Marsset-Baglieri A, Fromentin G, Airinei G, Pedersen C, Léonil J, Piedcoq J, Rémond D, Benamouzig R, Tomé D, Gaudichon C. Milk protein fractions moderately extend the duration of satiety compared with carbohydrates independently of their digestive kinetics in overweight subjects. Br J Nutr. 2014 Aug 28;112(4):557–64.
- Arciero PJ, Baur D, Connelly S, Ormsbee MJ. Timed-daily ingestion of whey protein and exercise training reduces visceral adipose tissue mass and improves insulin resistance: the PRISE study. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2014 Jul 1;117(1):1–10.
- Pal S, Radavelli-Bagatini S, Hagger M, Ellis V. Comparative effects of whey and casein proteins on satiety in overweight and obese individuals: a randomized controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2014 Sep;68(9):980–6.
- Chungchunlam SM, Henare SJ, Ganesh S, Moughan PJ. Effect of whey protein and glycomacropeptide on measures of satiety in normal-weight adult women. Appetite. 2014 Jul;78:172–8.
- Acheson KJ, Blondel-Lubrano A, Oguey-A raymon S, et al. Protein choices targeting thermogenesis and metabolism. Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Mar;93(3):525–34.
- Pal S, Ellis V. The acute effects of four protein meals on insulin, glucose, appetite and energy intake in lean men. Br J Nutr. 2010 Oct;104(8):1241–8.
- Akhavan T, Luhovyy BL, Brown PH, Cho CE, Anderson GH. Effect of premeal consumption of whey protein and its hydrolysate on food intake and postmeal glycemia and insulin responses in young adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Apr;91(4):966–75.
- Veldhorst MA, Nieuwenhuizen AG, Hochstenbach-Waelen A, et al. Dosedependent satiating effect of whey relative to casein or soy. Physiol Behav. 2009 Mar 23;96(4-5):675–82.
- Bowen J, Noakes M, Clifton PM. Appetite regulatory hormone responses to various dietary proteins differ by body mass index status despite similar reductions in ad libitum energy intake. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Aug;91(8):2913–9.
- Bowen J, Noakes M, Trenerry C, Clifton PM. Energy intake, ghrelin, and cholecystokinin after different carbohydrate and protein preloads in overweight men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006 Apr;91(4):1477–83.
- Vandewater K, Vickers Z. Higher-protein foods produce greater sensoryspecific satiety. Physiol Behav. 1996 Mar;59(3):579–83.
Gene Bruno, MS, MHS
Gene Bruno is the Dean of Academics and Professor of Dietary Supplement Science for Huntington College of Health Sciences (a nationally accredited distance learning college offering diplomas and degrees in nutrition and other health science related subjects. Gene has two undergraduate Diplomas in Nutrition, a Bachelor’s in Nutrition, a Master’s in Nutrition, a Graduate Diploma in Herbal Medicine, and a Master’s in Herbal Medicine. As a 32 year veteran of the Dietary Supplement industry, Gene has educated and trained natural product retailers and health care professionals, has researched and formulated natural products for dozens of dietary supplement companies, and has written articles on nutrition, herbal medicine, nutraceuticals and integrative health issues for trade, consumer magazines, and peer-reviewed publications. Gene's latest book, A Guide to Complimentary Treatments for Diabetes, is available on Amazon.com, and other fine retailers.