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Effects of carbohydrates on satiety: differences between liquid and solid food

Pan, Ana; Hu, Frank Ba,b,c

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: July 2011 - Volume 14 - Issue 4 - p 385–390
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328346df36
Carbohydrates: Edited by Luc Tappy and Bettina Mittendorfer

Purpose of review To examine the satiety effect of carbohydrates with a focus on the comparison of liquid and solid food and their implications for energy balance and weight management.

Recent findings A number of studies have examined the role of dietary fiber, whole grains, and glycemic index or glycemic load on satiety and subsequent energy intake, but results remain inconclusive. Intake of liquid carbohydrates, particularly sugar-sweetened beverages, has increased considerably across the globe in recent decades in both adolescents and adults. In general, liquid carbohydrates produce less satiety compared with solid carbohydrates. Some energy from liquids may be compensated for at subsequent meals but because the compensation is incomplete, it leads to an increase in total long-term energy intake. Recent studies also suggest some potential differential responses of satiety by characteristics of the patients (e.g., race, sex, and body weight status). These differences warrant further research.

Summary Satiety is a complex process influenced by a number of properties in food. The physical form (solid vs. liquid) of carbohydrates is an important component that may affect the satiety process and energy intake. Accumulating evidence suggests that liquid carbohydrates generally produce less satiety than solid forms.

aDepartment of Nutrition, USA

bDepartment of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, USA

cChanning Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD, Harvard School of Public Health, 655 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA Tel: +1 617 432 0113; fax: +1 617 432 2435; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.