Postprandial glycaemic dips predict appetite and energy intake in healthy individuals

Nat Metab. 2021 Apr;3(4):523-529. doi: 10.1038/s42255-021-00383-x. Epub 2021 Apr 12.


Understanding how to modulate appetite in humans is key to developing successful weight loss interventions. Here, we showed that postprandial glucose dips 2-3 h after a meal are a better predictor of postprandial self-reported hunger and subsequent energy intake than peak glucose at 0-2 h and glucose incremental area under the blood glucose curve at 0-2 h. We explore the links among postprandial glucose, appetite and subsequent energy intake in 1,070 participants from a UK exploratory and US validation cohort, who consumed 8,624 standardized meals followed by 71,715 ad libitum meals, using continuous glucose monitors to record postprandial glycaemia. For participants eating each of the standardized meals, the average postprandial glucose dip at 2-3 h relative to baseline level predicted an increase in hunger at 2-3 h (r = 0.16, P < 0.001), shorter time until next meal (r = -0.14, P < 0.001), greater energy intake at 3-4 h (r = 0.19, P < 0.001) and greater energy intake at 24 h (r = 0.27, P < 0.001). Results were directionally consistent in the US validation cohort. These data provide a quantitative assessment of the relevance of postprandial glycaemia in appetite and energy intake modulation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite / physiology*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Male
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Satiation
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose