Combating Hunger Pains Linda Milo Ohr | October 2014, Volume 68, No.10


Snacking in between meals because you’re too hungry to wait. Eating more than you should at a meal because you just don’t feel full. We have all been there. Satiety is the feeling of fullness after or between meals, and it is an emerging area in weight management. “According to the 2011 Gallup Study on Satiety, 74% of U.S. consumers think they could successfully lose weight ‘if only I could manage my hunger,’” states Barbara Davis, director of medical & scientific affairs at PLT Health Solutions, Morristown, N.J. ( “In late 2013, Mintel stated that as many as 87% of consumers indicated satiety as an important food attribute for them when choosing products.”

Many ingredients and whole foods are being shown to help curb appetite and keep consumers feeling fuller for longer periods of time. Here is a look at some of these satiety-promoting ingredients and foods.

Veggie medley beverageProtein
Protein remains one of today’s top nutrients, thanks in part to its known effects on satiety. Leidy et al. (2013), for example, suggested that the addition of breakfast, particularly one rich in protein, might be a useful strategy to improve satiety, reduce food motivation and reward, and improve diet quality in overweight or obese teenage girls. The randomized crossover trial included 20 girls who consumed a 350-kcal (13 g of protein) cereal-based breakfast, 350-kcal high-protein egg- and beef-rich (35 g of protein) breakfast, or no breakfast meal for 6 days. Eating breakfast led to beneficial alterations in the appetitive, hormonal, and neural signals that control food intake regulation. Eating the high-protein breakfast led to further alterations in these signals and reduced evening snacking compared with not eating breakfast. 

Dairy Research Institute, Rosemont, Ill. (,, summarizes the scientific support for several structure function claims and other statements regarding higher dietary protein and satiety in a scientific backgrounder, Dietary Protein & Satiety (Dairy Research Institute, 2011). Fourteen studies identified use of dairy products in satiety research, including whey protein isolate and hydrolysate, casein, yogurt, skim milk, milk protein, chocolate milk, glycomacroprotein, and caseinomacropeptide-depleted-alpha-lactalbumin-enriched whey protein.

Veldhorst et al. (2009) demonstrated the dose-dependent satiating effect of whey relative to casein and soy. The objective was to compare the effects of high (25% energy) or normal (10% energy) casein-, soy-, or whey-protein breakfasts on appetite, specific hormones, amino acid responses, and subsequent energy intake. Differences in appetite ratings between different proteins appeared at a normal concentration. Whey protein at 10% energy decreased hunger more than casein or soy protein, and whey protein at 25% energy triggered stronger responses in hormone concentrations than casein or soy protein. 

Whey protein is a natural complete protein containing all of the essential amino acids the body needs, and it is also one of the best sources of branched-chain amino acids, especially leucine. Leucine has been shown to help increase muscle protein. Whey protein may help lead to satiety by stimulating several gastrointestinal hormones that are thought to regulate appetite control in the brain. 

Leidy et al. (2014) demonstrated that daily consumption of a high-protein afternoon snack containing soy led to improved appetite control, satiety, and reduced unhealthy evening snacking in young people. Thirty-two healthy adolescents randomly consumed afternoon snacks (260 kcal) containing high protein (26 g of protein, 6 g of fat, and 27 g of carbohydrates) or high fat (4 g of protein, 12 g of fat, and 32 g of carbohydrates), or no snack for 3 days. Although eating both of the snacks reduced hunger, desire to eat, and prospective food consumption, and increased fullness compared to eating no snack, eating the high-protein snack led to greater reductions in hunger compared to eating the high-fat snack. Only the high-protein snack delayed subsequent eating versus no snack.

Abou-Samra et al. (2011) demonstrated pea protein’s effect on food intake. Two randomized, single-blind crossover studies were completed. In the first study, the researchers investigated the effect of a preload containing 20 g of casein, whey, pea protein, egg albumin, or maltodextrin compared to the control (water) on food intake 30 minutes after consumption of the preload. In the second study, the preload was consumed as a starter during an ad libitum meal. In the first study, food intake was significantly lower only after consuming casein and pea protein compared to the control, and feelings of satiety were significantly higher after consuming casein and pea protein. In the second study, the results showed no difference between preloads on ad libitum intake, indicating that consuming the protein preload as a meal starter decreased its impact on food intake as opposed to consuming it 30 minutes before the meal.