The science of slowing down hunger

A growing number of studies show consumers stay fuller for longer and eat less after a fiber and protein-enriched snack.

Bakeries have never been an obvious place to go looking for weight management foods. But there is every reason to look again. As vehicles for fiber and protein, bakery products can help combat the main reason why many diet regimes fail – hunger between meals.

Today, hunger reduction is a frequent goal of body weight control. And it’s more than a hunch that fiber and protein make a difference. Clinical studies provide mounting evidence that fiber and protein-enriched foods help consumers to feel fuller for longer, leading to lower calorie consumption throughout the day.

Healthier eating choices
In one recent study1 where Nutrition & Biosciences was a partner, teenagers given an afternoon snack with soy protein made both a later request for their evening meal and then healthier eating choices during the evening.

Similar results have been obtained in clinical studies of fiber supplementation, which have investigated the hunger-dampening effect of polydextrose. In 2014, Nutrition & Biosciences scientists led a meta-analysis of six such studies2. The conclusion was that study participants generally consumed 12.5% less energy after an earlier snack with polydextrose.

Blood sugar and gut hormones
Why fiber and protein should have this satiating effect, we are not yet completely sure.  However, scientific research has given insight into some of the mechanisms.

One of them is that neither soy protein nor polydextrose has much effect on blood sugar levels. In other words, the energy they contain is metabolized and released more slowly into the blood stream than carbohydrates such as sugar, which release energy more quickly and cause blood sugar to spike.

Another mechanism relates to gut hormones, which send a signal to the appetite control center in the brain that food intake should be reduced after meals. Soy protein is known to stimulate the release of one such hormone – cholecystokinin (CKK). Polydextrose consumption, on the other hand, enhances secretion of GLP-1, a gut peptide that slows digestion and, subsequently, reduces intake of food.

High quality vegetable protein
Compared to carbohydrates, the body also spends about 10% more energy on breaking protein down – a process that both reduces the amount of calories absorbed and ensures the bioavailability of essential nutrients.  Of all vegetable proteins, soy is the most nutritionally complete due to its high content of essential amino acids and digestibility. This makes it a good choice from a general health perspective.

Get in touch if you want to know more about the science behind fiber and protein for satiety and weight management. Our nutrition and health scientists will be happy to share insights with you.

You can read more about bakery solutions with added fiber and protein in this issue of Bakery Performance. Fiber and protein sources typically work well together in most bakery applications.

The studies mentioned here made use of Litesse® polydextrose and SUPRO® isolated soy protein from the DuPont™Danisco® range.


  1. Leidy H, Shafer R, Todd C & Ortinau L. The effects of a high-protein afternoon snack containing soy on appetite control, satiety, and subsequent food intake in young people. 2014. The FASEB Journal, vol. 28, no. 1 supplement (381.7)
  2. Ibarra A, Astbury NM, Olli K, Alhoniemi E & Tiihonen K. Effects of polydextrose on different levels of energy intake. A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2015. Appetite, 87C, pp30-37

Healthy Bakery Solutions

The challenge for the bakery industry is to find new ways to reach out to consumers. Many of the big brands are already taking the first steps. Their strategy is to appeal to the one thing that concerns Western consumers most – their health.
Sprouted wheat grains are enjoying a revival as a trendy and nutritious alternative to refined wheat flour. According to the Whole Grains Council, sprouted grains are even healthier than whole grains, which for years have been promoted as a prime source of fibre and other nutrients.
Bread prices have come under huge pressure in European markets where discount supermarket chains have revolutionised the retail grocery landscape in recent times. Along with the free-falling bread consumption that some markets face, this has created serious issues for industrial bakers.
Sometimes the inspiration for new bakery concepts comes when you least expect it – and least of all when attending a university seminar on brewing beer. Nevertheless, it was a story about ancient Mesopotamian beer that inspired our concept for a nutritious breakfast biscuit called bappir.
Market data from Mintel shows that new tortilla and wrap products accounted for more than 25% of all new product launches in the bread segment in 2015 – a figure that reflects several years of continuous growth. Wraps are particularly popular among younger consumers and consumers on high incomes.
Every balanced diet needs a good portion of carbohydrates. The recommendation of the European Food Safety Authority is that carbohydrates should account for 45-60% of our total energy intake.
If you don’t want your bread products to compete on price alone, you’ve got to focus on quality – and tempt consumers with a good taste, health benefits and an artisanal look.
Satiety is the new word in lifestyle weight management. We’ve been exploring the consumer trends behind some of today’s bakery opportunities.
Jan Charles Hansen and Joern Gravgaard explain why baked nutrition bars are a good opportunity, how to make them and what to add to get healthier products with a great taste and texture.
The popular nutrition bar is now a good business proposition for industrial bakers.
On-pack health and nutrition claims are strictly controlled in the EU. Here’s what’s possible.
Wholemeal and protein are a difficult combination in industrial bread. An unexpected solution can make it work for the weight management market.
Biscuits and muffins may lead to fewer daily calories if they are a source of protein and fiber. We look at the recipe issues and how to overcome them.
New opportunities are shaking up old perceptions of high-fibre wheat bread as a heavy, compact phenomenon that belongs to the niche health segment. Today it is possible to make nutritious 100% wholemeal bread that meets all the quality expectations of the mainstream market.
Consumers know fibre is good, but not always how to get more of it in their diet. New fibre breads could make the difference.
If consumers are reluctant to change their habits, you have to work with the habits they’ve got.
Replacing gluten is easier said than done, but progress is being made.
Does a super fruit have the muscle to strengthen bread dough? We take a look.
Jan Charles Hansen describes how a new enzyme complex makes softer, bigger wholemeal bread with a cleaner label.
Whole grain alternatives to wheat open doors to high-fibre bread that consumers will notice.
Gluten quality makes all the difference for good and healthy bread time after time.
/content/dupont/amer/us/en/nutrition-biosciences/contact-us.html /content/dupont/amer/us/en/nutrition-biosciences/references/corporate-contact-us.html /content/dupont/amer/us/en/nutrition-biosciences/references/subscribe.html