Breakfast with glycomacropeptide compared with amino acids suppresses plasma ghrelin levels in individuals with phenylketonuria

Mol Genet Metab. 2010 Aug;100(4):303-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ymgme.2010.04.003. Epub 2010 Apr 14.


Phenylketonuria (PKU) requires a lifelong low-phenylalanine (phe) diet where protein needs are met by consumption of a phe-free amino acid (AA) formula; complaints of persistent hunger are common. Foods made with glycomacropeptide (GMP), an intact protein that contains minimal phe and may promote satiety, provide an alternative to AA formula. The objective was to assess the ability of a GMP breakfast to promote satiety and affect plasma concentrations of AAs, insulin, and the appetite stimulating hormone ghrelin in those with PKU, when compared to an AA-based breakfast. Eleven PKU subjects (8 adults and 3 boys ages 11-14) served as their own controls in an inpatient metabolic study with two 4-day treatments: an AA-based diet followed by a diet replacing all AA formula with GMP foods. Plasma concentrations of AAs, insulin and ghrelin were obtained before and/or 180 min after breakfast. Satiety was assessed using a visual analog scale before, immediately after and 150 min after breakfast. Postprandial ghrelin concentration was significantly lower (p=0.03) with GMP compared to an AA-based breakfast, with no difference in fasting ghrelin. Lower postprandial ghrelin concentrations were associated with greater feelings of fullness after breakfast suggesting greater satiety with GMP compared to AAs. Postprandial concentrations of insulin and total plasma AAs were higher after a GMP breakfast compared to an AA-based breakfast consistent with slower absorption and less degradation of AAs from GMP. These results show sustained ghrelin suppression, and suggest greater satiety with ingestion of a meal containing GMP compared with AAs.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Amino Acids / blood
  • Amino Acids / pharmacology*
  • Caseins / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Food
  • Ghrelin / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Pain Measurement
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*
  • Phenylketonurias / blood*
  • Phenylketonurias / diet therapy*
  • Postprandial Period
  • Satiety Response / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids
  • Caseins
  • Ghrelin
  • Insulin
  • Peptide Fragments
  • caseinomacropeptide