Consuming Lower-Protein Nutrition Bars with Added Leucine Elicits Postprandial Changes in Appetite Sensations in Healthy Women

J Nutr. 2018 May 1;148(5):693-701. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxy023.


Background: Higher-protein meals (>25 g protein/meal) have been associated with enhanced satiety but the role of amino acids is unclear. Leucine has been proposed to stimulate satiety in rodents but has not been assessed in humans.

Objective: We assessed the acute effects of lower-protein nutrition bars, enhanced with a leucine peptide (LP), on postprandial appetite sensations in combination with plasma leucine and peptide YY (PYY) in healthy women.

Methods: Utilizing a double-blind randomized crossover design, 40 healthy women [28 ± 7.5 y; body mass index (BMI, in kg/m2): 23.5 ± 2.4] consumed the following isocaloric (180 kcal) pre-loads on 3 separate visits: control bar [9 g protein with 0 g added LP (0-g LP)] or treatment bars [11 g protein with 2 g added LP (2-g LP) or 13 g protein with 3 g added LP (3-g LP)]. Pre- and postprandial hunger, desire to eat, prospective food consumption (PFC), fullness, and plasma leucine were assessed every 30 min for 240 min. Plasma PYY was assessed hourly for 240 min (n = 24).

Results: Main effects of time (P < 0.0001) and treatment (P < 0.03) were detected for postprandial hunger, desire to eat, PFC, and fullness. Post hoc analyses revealed that the 2-g and 3-g LP bars elicited greater increases in fullness and greater decreases in PFC compared with 0-g LP (all, P < 0.05) with no differences between the 2-g and 3-g LP bars. The 2-g bar elicited greater decreases in hunger and desire to eat compared with the 0-g LP bar (both, P ≤ 0.01), whereas 3-g LP did not. Appetite incremental areas under the curves (iAUCs) and PYY outcomes were not different between bars. A treatment × time interaction was detected for plasma leucine with increases occurring in a leucine-dose-dependent manner (P < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Despite the dose-dependent increases in plasma leucine following the consumption of lower-protein bars enhanced with LP, only the 2-g LP bar elicited consistent postprandial changes in select appetite sensations compared with the 0-g LP bar. This study was registered on as NCT02091570.

Keywords: PYY; appetite; appetite sensations; fullness; hunger; leucine; plasma leucine; protein-nutrition bars; women.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leucine / administration & dosage*
  • Leucine / blood
  • Meals
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide YY / blood
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Young Adult


  • Dietary Proteins
  • Peptide YY
  • Leucine

Associated data