Previous studies had found that over 85% of energy consumed in a diet comes from either salty or sweet foods, which account for a respective 39% and 47% of energy consumption.
Based on this, researchers at A*STAR and the National University of Singapore (NUS) conducted a randomised crossover study to determine if energy density and taste quality have an impact on energy intake and postprandial blood glucose response.
They recruited 32 Singaporean male participants aged 21 to 50 with normal BMI, and had them preload with one of four study treatments: sweet low-energy density (LED) foods, sweet high-energy density (HED) foods, savoury LED foods, and savoury HED foods.
All four treatments included yam glutinous rice balls, sweet potato glutinous rice balls, snow fungus, and corn kernels.
The participants were also given sweet and savoury preload soups; the sweet soup came in the form of a popular local dessert, cheng tng, while the savoury soup was a clear mushroom broth.
The HED soups had 55g of maltodextrin added to them, while the LED sweet soup was sweetened with 0.05g of sucralose.
After the treatment, they recorded their food intake for the rest of the day.
Following this, those who had been given LED foods reported feeling more hungry than those who had been given HED foods.
But “there were very few differences in (the) desire to eat something sweet, desire to eat something savoury, and thirst between the four treatments across all time points.
“Similarly, there was very little difference in any of the appetite measures after lunch.”
Furthermore, while energy intake during subsequent meals and total daily energy intake were similar among the recipients of the four treatments, HED preload consumption caused a greater spike in postprandial blood glucose than LED preload consumption.
This led the researchers to state that energy density, not taste quality, was crucial to energy compensation and postprandial blood glucose response, implying that regularly consuming LED foods could lower overall energy intake and improve glycaemic control.
The researchers concluded: “Longer term studies are warranted to determine the potential beneficial effect associated with replacing full-calorie versions of foods with sensory-matched sweet or savoury energy-reduced versions of the same foods on net changes in daily energy intake and potential improvements in body weight and glycaemic control.”
Vol. 10, no. 161
“Effects of Consuming Preloads with Different Energy Density and Taste Quality on Energy Intake and Postprandial Blood Glucose”
Authors: Tey Siew Ling, et al