Protein

Protein suppresses EI to a greater extent than any of the other macronutrients. This effect is apparent in free-living subjects and in the laboratory. There may be a critical threshold in the amount of protein required to suppress subsequent EI since studies that have found little effect of protein relative to other macronutrient preloads have only used small amounts of energy in the preloads. Thus, protein appears to be particularly satiating when given in moderate and large amounts (Figure 5).

The mechanisms responsible for the apparent appetite-restraining effect of protein have not yet been determined. Essential amino acids when ingested in excess of requirement form a physiological stress that must be disposed of by oxidation. It is known that animals will alter feeding behavior in order to alleviate a physiological stress. Pigs, in particular, appear capable of learning to select a protein:energy ratio in the diet that is optimal for growth, as can rats.

Energy (MJ) added to control

Figure 5 Effect of increasing energy content of macronutrient loads on satiety index subjectively expressed over 3.25 h. (Reproduced from Weststrate JL (1992) Effect of nutrients on the regulation of food intake. Unilever Research, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.

Energy (MJ) added to control

Figure 5 Effect of increasing energy content of macronutrient loads on satiety index subjectively expressed over 3.25 h. (Reproduced from Weststrate JL (1992) Effect of nutrients on the regulation of food intake. Unilever Research, Vlaardingen, The Netherlands.

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