The Analyze Blog

Aerated Drinks and Appetite Control

By AnalyzeDirect Staff, last updated March 17, 2016

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Aerated DrinksIncorporating air into food ingredients by sieving, creaming, whisking or beating makes them lighter and creates more volume. Several studies have shown that the consumption of aerated foods leads to increased satiety and helps control hunger, but the way aeration contributes to satisfaction is still not fully understood.

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Nottingham investigated the effects of aerated drinks on gastric distension and appetite using MRI. They compared three milk-based beverages: two drinks aerated to foams by blending and whipping, one more stable in the stomach than the other, and a nonaerated liquid control. The three test beverages provided the same energy content but the volume of the aerated products was more than three times that of the control product, due to the inclusion of large amounts of air.

The subjects of the study were scanned to obtain baseline images of the stomach and underwent serial postprandial MRI scans for 4 hours. After the baseline scan and at intervals following the meal consumption, the volunteers completed a scale that assessed several aspects of appetite.

MRI images were used to determine gastric volumes, contents and emptying. Analyze software was used to distinguish and measure liquid, foam and air layers in the stomach. The investigators manually traced regions of interest, measured the volumes and summed over slices to calculate total gastric volume.

The trial indicated that the two aerated drinks induced greater gastric distension compared to the control beverage, and the decrease in total gastric volume was slower after drinking the more stable one. Subjects experienced a greater degree of satiety at any gastric volume when consuming the aerated products.

In fact, several studies have shown that the volume of food ingested affects appetite control, as it triggers gastric distension. This extension, which may be further enhanced by foam stability, is sensed by mechanoreceptor neurons in the stomach and later relayed, via the vagus nerve, to hypothalamic neurons that regulate hunger. Further research in the field of nutrition and food technology is warranted in order to achieve the development of satiety enhancing food products.

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