Effects of dietary protein and meal frequency on appetite during weight loss




Amy Mobley


Foods and Nutrition


Nutrition, Fitness, and Health


CFS, F&N, Protein, Meal Frequency


BACKGROUND: Higher protein diets (intake > recommended 10-15% daily calories from protein) are a popular approach to promote weight loss. Meal patterning (frequency) also may influence satiety and ultimately promote longer-term energy balance and body weight control.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effects of protein intake and meal frequency on indices of daily appetite in overweight to obese men while in a longer-term energy restricted state.

METHODS: Eleven males (age 35 to 69y; BMI 26.58 to 35.04kg/m2) who had chronically consumed a 750 kcal/d energydeficit diet with either 1.4g protein·kg-1·d-1 of energy as protein (higher-protein group; HP; n=6) or 0.8g protein·kg-1·d-1 of energy as protein (normal protein; NP; n=5) for a minimum of 6 weeks were tested. In random order on separate weeks, each subject consumed their prescribed diet for three days using a 3 meals/d (at 08:00, 13:00, and 18:00 h) and 6 meals/d pattern (at 08:00, 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, and 18:00 h). An appetite questionnaire rating their hunger, fullness, and desire to eat on a 1-100 mm scale was completed hourly starting upon waking.

RESULTS: Independent of meal patterning, hunger (P=0.031) and desire to eat (P=0.026) areas under the curve (AUC) were lower and fullness AUC was higher (P=0.028) in the HP group vs. NP group. Hunger AUC tended to be lower for the 6 meal pattern (P=0.08), while desire to eat AUC and fullness AUC were not different between the 3 vs. 6 meal pattern. Protein intake did not influence these responses.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that higher protein intake promotes daily satiety during weight loss. Daily diets consumed in smaller frequent meals may lead to reduced hunger.

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