Complex textures could increase feelings of fullness: Study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Foods with complex textures could help people feel fuller for longer, say scientists. © iSock
Foods with complex textures could help people feel fuller for longer, say scientists. © iSock

Related tags: Food

Increased textural complexity in foods could help consumers to feel fuller for longer, say researchers.

The new study has, for the first time, shown a link between feelings of fullness (increased satiety) and the textural complexity of food – suggesting a potential new route for the industry to increase the satiating effects of foods and control portion size.

Writing in the journal Appetite​, the team behind the study said higher textural complexity foods led to increased satiety, independent of oral processing time – which has previously been suggested to be the key driver in the relationship between food texture and satiation.

“The results of the current study show that subjects in a randomised cross-over trial who consumed a 'starter' (preload) model food with high textural complexity went on to eat significantly less of a two course ad libitum meal,”​ wrote the authors, led by senior author Professor Bryony James from the University of Auckland.  

“Subjects who consumed a 'starter' model food with low textural complexity, but with the same flavour, energy density and oral processing time, ate significantly more of the same ad libitum meal,”​ they added.

James and her colleagues said the results show that increasing the number of textures perceived during chewing of a solid food triggers the satiation response earlier than when chewing a less texturally complex food.

“Increasing textural complexity of manufactured foods, to allow for greater sensory stimulation per bite, could potentially be used as a tool to enhance the satiation response and decrease food intake,”​ they concluded.

Textural complexity

The New Zealand-based researchers tested whether additional sensory stimulation during the chewing (mastication) of texturally complex foods makes a significant contribution to the satiation response independent of oral processing time by controlling for energy density, flavour and, in particular, oral transit time.

A variety of model foods, of varying textural complexity, but equivalent energy, flavour and oral processing time, were developed and manufactured as small mouthful size pieces by James and her colleagues.

These high complexity (HC) and low complexity (LC) model foods were then used as preload foods, followed by ad libitum​ meals to test satiation.

“The results show that the HC preload group consumed a significantly lower amount of food (p < 0.01) for the first course of the ad libitum meal (pasta and sauce) than the LC preload group,”​ said the team – who noted that the difference in consumed weight equated to 156.6 g or approximately 1507 kJ.

However, they reported no significant difference between the LC and HC groups (p = 0.08) in the total weight of food consumed during the second course of the ad libitum​ meal (chocolate cake).

“The significance of the results of the current study is that, for the first time, an impact of food texture on satiation has been shown independent of oral processing time,”​ said the researchers. “We propose that the increased sensory stimulation from more complex textures can contribute to and accelerate the satiation response.”

Source: Appetite
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.05.029
“Increased textural complexity in food enhances satiation”
Authors: Danaé S. Larsen, et al

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1 comment

Not the first study

Posted by Rita,

This is indeed an interesting association, but it was not the first time this link was shown. A study from 2012 has already shown that texture can suppress hunger:

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