• Food intake;
  • meta-analysis;
  • meta-regression;
  • vegetable oil emulsion


Several short-term studies have investigated the effects of a vegetable oil emulsion on subsequent food intake, although findings have been inconsistent. This work aimed to review all studies, and investigate differences in study outcomes based on methodology. All known studies were identified. Data were abstracted from published studies (n = 7). Details of unpublished studies were gained from investigators/sponsors (n = 5), or were unavailable for reasons of confidentiality (n = 4). Available data were combined using meta-analyses. A combined appetite suppressant effect of the emulsion compared with control was found for test meal intake at approximately 4, 12 and 36 h post-treatment: smallest combined mean difference (random effects model) = 0.53 MJ (95% confidence interval 0.20, 0.86), P < 0.01. However, considerable heterogeneity (variability) between study results was also found (smallest I2 = 94%, P < 0.01), questioning the predictive validity of the above findings. Meta-regression suggested this heterogeneity to be related to differences in the processed nature of the product, treatment dose and in particular year of study (smallest B = 0.54, 95% confidence interval 0.06, 1.03, P = 0.04), although again heterogeneity was found. The only consistent finding was a lack of effect on food intake 4 h post-preload in studies conducted after 2003. These results suggest a small but inconsistent appetite suppressant effect of the vegetable oil emulsion. However, due to the large heterogeneity, no definitive conclusions can be drawn.