The effects of food viscosity on bite size, bite effort and food intake

Physiol Behav. 2008 Oct 20;95(3):527-32. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.07.026. Epub 2008 Aug 5.


Two studies investigated the effect of a food's viscosity on bite size, bite effort and food intake using a standardized protocol in which subjects sipped through a straw every 20 s for a period of 15 min from one of two products, a chocolate-flavored dairy drink and a chocolate-flavored dairy semi-solid, matched for energy density. In the first study, subjects consumed 47% more from the liquid than from the semi-solid to reach the same degree of satiation, with larger bite sizes for the liquid throughout the 15 minute period (8.7+/-0.45 g) compared to the semi-solid (5.8+/-0.3 g, p<0.01). In the second study bite effort was eliminated by using a peristaltic pump to present the products every 20 s. Oral processing time before swallowing was set at 5 s (both products) or 8 s (semi-solid). With the elimination of bite effort and a standardized oral processing time, subjects consumed as much from the semi-solid as from the liquid to reach the same degree of satiation. Bite size for liquids started relatively small and grew gradually over successive bites, whereas the bite size for the semi-solid food started relatively large and became gradually smaller. The latter effect was even more pronounced when the oral processing time was increased from 5 to 8 s. In conclusion, semi-solids resulted in smaller bite sizes and lower intake than liquids, but these differences disappeared when differences in bite effort were eliminated.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bite Force*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Male
  • Satiety Response / physiology
  • Sensation / physiology*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Size Perception / physiology*
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Viscosity
  • Young Adult