There are many food ingredients that can invoke a feeling of fullness, but it turns out food consistency works just as well.
A new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is pushing to bring smoothies back as the hottest weight loss trend. But not just any smoothie: the study’s authors advocate extra-thick, heavy smoothies.
Adding bulk to a drink seems to make people feel fuller, regardless of the calorie content. Since satiety is one of the proven methods to curb overeating, it’s reasonable to suggest thicker drinks could play a role in healthy weight loss.
The researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands found 15 men to drink a series of four milkshakes. The milkshakes varied in calories – ranging from 100 to 500 – and their viscosity, simply thin or thick. MRI scans of the participants’ stomachs were taken to examine the volume of liquid present. For an hour and a half post-ingestion, they were queried every 10 minutes on how they were feeling.
Unsurprisingly, they found the 100-calorie concoctions exited the stomach fastest, but it was differences in viscosity that piqued their intrigue. It was the drink’s thickness that had the men reporting feeling full, not the calorie totals. The men that drank a thick, 100-calorie shake felt fuller than those who chugged the thinner, 500-calorie alternative.
The study’s researchers coined this effect ‘phantom fullness’: being more satiated because of a food’s thickness, not its energy density. This isn’t good news for hopefuls who used sodas or sugary drinks to compensate for hunger, but is welcome to those who prefer their beverages extra hefty. Milkshake, smoothie, and chunky, tropical cocktail enthusiasts can rejoice!
More research is in store to determine which types of fibers or thickeners are the best choice. Regardless, if drinking heavier smoothies does make you feel fuller, that should have you passing on additional calories afterward.