Fluid or fuel? The context of consuming a beverage is important for satiety

PLoS One. 2014 Jun 19;9(6):e100406. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100406. eCollection 2014.


Energy-containing beverages have a weak effect on satiety, limited by their fluid characteristics and perhaps because they are not considered 'food'. This study investigated whether the context of consuming a beverage can influence the satiating power of its nutrients. Eighty participants consumed a lower- (LE, 75 kcal) and higher-energy (HE, 272 kcal) version of a beverage (covertly manipulated within-groups) on two test days, in one of four beverage contexts (between-groups): thin versions of the test-drinks were consumed as a thirst-quenching drink (n = 20), a filling snack (n = 20), or without additional information (n = 20). A fourth group consumed subtly thicker versions of the beverages without additional information (n = 20). Lunch intake 60 minutes later depended on the beverage context and energy content (p = 0.030): participants who consumed the thin beverages without additional information ate a similar amount of lunch after the LE and HE versions (LE = 475 kcal, HE = 464 kcal; p = 0.690) as did those participants who believed the beverages were designed to quench-thirst (LE = 442 kcal, HE = 402 kcal; p = 0.213), despite consuming an additional 197 kcal in the HE beverage. Consuming the beverage as a filling snack led participants to consume less at lunch after the HE beverage compared to the LE version (LE = 506 kcal, HE = 437 kcal; p = 0.025). This effect was also seen when the beverages were subtly thicker, with participants in this group displaying the largest response to the beverage's energy content, consuming less at lunch after the HE version (LE = 552 kcal, HE = 415 kcal; p<0.001). These data indicate that beliefs about the consequences of consuming a beverage can affect the impact of its nutrients on appetite regulation and provide further evidence that a beverage's sensory characteristics can limit its satiating power.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Appetite / physiology
  • Beverages*
  • Drinking Behavior
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Lunch
  • Satiation / physiology*
  • Sensation
  • Shear Strength
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Thirst / physiology
  • Viscosity
  • Young Adult