Background: Beverage consumption is implicated in the overweight/obesity epidemic through the weaker energy compensation response it elicits compared with solid food forms. However, plausible mechanisms are not documented.
Objective: This study assessed the cognitive and sensory contributions of differential postingestive responses to energy- and macronutrient-matched liquid (in beverage form) and solid food forms and identifies physiologic processes that may account for them.
Design: Fifty-two healthy adults [mean ± SD age: 24.7 ± 5.5 y; BMI (in kg/m(2)): 26.3 ± 6.3] completed this randomized, 4-arm crossover study. Participants consumed oral liquid and solid preloads that they perceived, through cognitive manipulation, to be liquid or solid in their stomach (ie, oral liquid/perceived gastric liquid, oral liquid/perceived gastric solid, oral solid/perceived gastric liquid, or oral solid/perceived gastric solid). However, all preloads were designed to present a liquid gastric challenge. Appetite, gastric-emptying and orocecal transit times, and selected endocrine responses were monitored for the following 4 h; total energy intake was also recorded.
Results: Oral-liquid and perceived gastric-liquid preloads elicited greater postprandial hunger and lower fullness sensations, more rapid gastric-emptying and orocecal transit times, attenuated insulin and glucagon-like peptide 1 release, and lower ghrelin suppression than did responses after oral-solid and perceived gastric-solid treatments (all P < 0.05). Faster gastric-emptying times were significantly associated with greater energy intake after consumption of perceived gastric-liquid preloads (P < 0.05). Energy intake was greater on days when perceived gastric-liquid preloads were consumed than when perceived gastric solids were consumed (2311 ± 95 compared with 1897 ± 72 kcal, P = 0.007).
Conclusions: These data document sensory and cognitive effects of food form on ingestive behavior and identify physical and endocrine variables that may account for the low satiety value of beverages. They are consistent with findings that clear, energy-yielding beverages pose a particular risk for positive energy balance. This study was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01070199.