Scientists find no link between appetite and calorie intake

  • Study shows no link between appetite and calorie consumption
  • Findings highlight problems with health claims made by food industry
  • More research needed to see what influences calories intake

A new study has revealed there is no link between how hungry we feel and the amount of calories we consume.

weight lossThe research, conducted by scientists from the University of Sheffield with colleagues from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN), shows that food marketed as having appetite-modifying properties does not alter our calorie intake.

The findings highlight a problem with health claims made by the food industry and the way in which many products are advertised – especially those aimed at people trying to lose weight.

Researchers from the University’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism analysed 462 scientific studies and found appetite ratings failed to correspond with energy intake – the number of calories consumed – in the majority of studies.

Dr Bernard Corfe, from the Molecular Gastroenterology Research Group, who led the study said: “The food industry is littered with products which are marketed on the basis of their appetite-modifying properties. Whilst these claims may be true, they shouldn’t be extended to imply that energy intake will be reduced as a result.

“For example, you could eat a meal which claims to satisfy your appetite and keep you feeling full-up for a long period of time but nonetheless go on to consume a large amount of calories later on.”

Only six per cent of the studies tested a direct statistical comparison between energy intake and appetite, possibly suggesting that researchers had avoided reporting this finding. Of the six percent only around half could find a link, further emphasising how tenuous the relationship is.

The team now suggest that more research is needed to examine other factors governing actual food intake include sensorial environment, social factors, entrained behaviour relating to food timing, along with our innate physical regulation of intake.

“More research needs to be done into the other factors which do influence our calorie intake,” said Dr Corfe.
“This will be important to understand how obesity occurs, how to prevent it, and how we need to work in partnership with the food industry to develop improved tests for foods that are genuinely and effectively able to satisfy appetite.”

The study is featured in Food and Science Nutrition, to view the full paper please visit: No link between appetite and calorie intake 

Additional information

The University of Sheffield
With almost 27,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.
A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.
Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2016 and was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education in 2014. In the last decade it has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.
Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.
Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

Contact

For further information please contact:

Amy Pullan
Media Relations Officer
University of Sheffield
0114 222 9859
a.l.pullan@sheffield.ac.uk

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