Gastrointestinal Nutrient Infusion Site and Eating Behavior: Evidence for A Proximal to Distal Gradient within the Small Intestine?

Nutrients. 2016 Feb 26;8(3):117. doi: 10.3390/nu8030117.


The rapidly increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity demands new strategies focusing on prevention and treatment of this significant health care problem. In the search for new and effective therapeutic modalities for overweight subjects, the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is increasingly considered as an attractive target for medical and food-based strategies. The entry of nutrients into the small intestine activates so-called intestinal "brakes", negative feedback mechanisms that influence not only functions of more proximal parts of the GI tract but also satiety and food intake. Recent evidence suggests that all three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates) are able to activate the intestinal brake, although to a different extent and by different mechanisms of action. This review provides a detailed overview of the current evidence for intestinal brake activation of the three macronutrients and their effects on GI function, satiety, and food intake. In addition, these effects appear to depend on region and length of infusion in the small intestine. A recommendation for a therapeutic approach is provided, based on the observed differences between intestinal brake activation.

Keywords: food intake; intestinal brake; nutrient infusion; satiety.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Appetite Regulation
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism*
  • Eating*
  • Feedback, Physiological
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism*
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Satiety Response
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins