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Objective

Meals high in protein induce greater intermeal satiety than meals high in fat and carbohydrates. We studied the gut hormone response and subsequent food intake after breakfasts high in protein, carbohydrate or high in fat controlled for volume, calories and appearance.

Design and Methods

Eight healthy volunteers participated in this randomized three-way crossover study. Study breakfasts were calculated to provide 20% of daily energy requirements and provided either 60% of energy from protein, fat or carbohydrate. Blood was drawn half-hourly for 4 h; energy intake at a subsequent ad libitum meal was measured.

Results

Total ghrelin decreased after food intake equally with the three breakfasts. PYY levels were highest after the high protein breakfast (P = 0.005). Indeed, PYY at 240 min was highest after the high protein breakfast compared to the high fat breakfast and to the high carbohydrate breakfast (P = 0.011 and P = 0.012, respectively). GLP-1 levels were highest after the high protein breakfast (P = 0.041) at 120 min and remained higher throughout the study. These differences in gut hormones did not translate into differences in food intake (1023 ± 390 kcal after high protein, 1016 ± 388 kcal after high fat and 1158 ± 433 kcal after high carbohydrate).

Conclusion

We conclude that a high protein meal increases circulating concentrations of the gut hormones PYY and GLP-1, but when meals are matched for volume, appearance and caloric value, these gut hormone changes do not translate into a reduction in ad libitum food intake.