The impact of food viscosity on eating rate, subjective appetite, glycemic response and gastric emptying rate

PLoS One. 2013 Jun 20;8(6):e67482. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067482. Print 2013.


Understanding the impact of rheological properties of food on postprandial appetite and glycemic response helps to design novel functional products. It has been shown that solid foods have a stronger satiating effect than their liquid equivalent. However, whether a subtle change in viscosity of a semi-solid food would have a similar effect on appetite is unknown. Fifteen healthy males participated in the randomized cross-over study. Each participant consumed a 1690 kJ portion of a standard viscosity (SV) and a high viscosity (HV) semi-solid meal with 1000 mg acetaminophen in two separate sessions. At regular intervals during the three hours following the meal, subjective appetite ratings were measured and blood samples collected. The plasma samples were assayed for insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), glucose and acetaminophen. After three hours, the participants were provided with an ad libitum pasta meal. Compared with the SV meal, HV was consumed at a slower eating rate (P = 0.020), with postprandial hunger and desire to eat being lower (P = 0.019 and P<0.001 respectively) while fullness was higher (P<0.001). In addition, consuming the HV resulted in lower plasma concentration of GIP (P<0.001), higher plasma concentration of glucose (P<0.001) and delayed gastric emptying as revealed by the acetaminophen absorption test (P<0.001). However, there was no effect of food viscosity on insulin or food intake at the subsequent meal. In conclusion, increasing the viscosity of a semi-solid food modulates glycemic response and suppresses postprandial satiety, although the effect may be short-lived. A slower eating rate and a delayed gastric emptying rate can partly explain for the stronger satiating properties of high viscous semi-solid foods.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Food*
  • Gastric Emptying / physiology*
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / blood
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Satiety Response / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Viscosity
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide

Grant support

The study was funded by Iowa State University. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.