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Fat all the same for stopping hunger pangs: Study

By Stephen Daniells , 25-May-2010

It does not matter what form fat is consumed in – saturated, mono- or poly-unsaturated – they all perform poorly when it comes to producing a feeling of fullness, says a new study.

Previous studies have suggested that polyunsaturated fats may be more effective at suppressing appetite that mono-unsaturated fats, but a new study published in Nutrition & Metabolism finds no difference.

“In this study we were unable to show differential changes in postprandial feelings of hunger or fullness, or changes in energy intake at a lunch meal when alterations were made to the fatty acid saturation of a high-fat breakfast,” wrote the researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Satiety has been called the 'Holy Grail of nutrition' and is seen as a key target in the battle against obesity, with the World Health Organization estimating that by 2015, there will be more than 1.5 billion overweight consumers, incurring health costs beyond $117 billion per year in the US alone.

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.

Foods marketed for satiety enhance feelings of fullness after eating, acting as a boost to a person's will-power and helping them avoid a reversion to old habits in a bid to stave off hunger pangs, or 'grazing' in between meals.

The study sought to answer the previous controversy as to whether different types of fats may affect satiety differently. Eighteen healthy, lean men assigned to receive breakfasts high in one form of the three fats – saturated (65 per cent of lipids), mono-unsaturated (76 per cent), or poly-unsaturated (76 per cent) in a randomised cross-over design.

The participants did not rate the breakfasts any differently in terms of their “pleasantness, visual appearance, smell, taste, aftertaste and overall palatability”, said the researchers. Furthermore, there were no differences in the measures of satiety between the high fat meals.

“Whether a higher dose lipid product administered as a preload rather than test meal, i.e. closer to the lunch meal, would elicit an appetite response is unknown,” wrote the researchers.

“Certainly there is little consensus on effects of dietary lipid composition on appetite control from previous studies. Whether appetite may be altered by longer term and sustained changes in dietary fatty acid composition also remains to be demonstrated,” they concluded.

Source: Nutrition Journal
2010, 9:24, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-24
“No evidence of differential effects of SFA, MUFA or PUFA on post-ingestive satiety and energy intake: a randomised trial of fatty acid saturation”
Authors: C.M. Strik, F.E. Lithander, A-T. McGill, A.K. MacGibbon, B.H. McArdle, S.D. Poppitt

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