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Same Snacks May Increase Intake

mixed Nuts in a Wooden BowlEating the same sweet or salty snack day after day may cause you to not like it as much as a healthier high-calorie snack, but it may also lead to increased snacking in general, suggests a preliminary new study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Study researchers focused on sensory specific satiety, when a person’s appetite for a food with a certain characteristics – such as sweet, salty, or fatty – is satiated. Foods that you tire of quickly might have a high sensory specific satiety, leading you to stop eating that food.

In the study, 118 participants were randomly split into three snacking groups: hazlenuts, chocolate or potato chips. All the snacks have about the same energy density. Both at the beginning and end of the study, all participants rated how much they liked six foods: the three test foods and another three that matched salty, savory and sweet. The researchers asked participants a series of questions to determine their sensory specific satiety for each food. Participants were then asked to eat as much of their assigned snack as they wanted.

Then, over the next 12 weeks, participants ate 263-calories worth of their assigned snack. A fourth group ate no added snacks. Researchers then compared the ratings and how much food participants ate before and after the study.

All the snackers ate more of the food at the end of the study than at the beginning. And sensory specific satiety was reduced for all of the snackers, meaning it would take more of that food to satisfy them. But the snackers who ate the nuts were the least likely to grow tired of the food. When compared to the hazelnut snackers, those who ate the chocolate and the potato chips reported liking their food less than they had 12 weeks before.

This is the first study to investigate the effects of long-term eating on liking, satiety, and intake, note the authors, and more research is needed.

Source: Tey SL, Brown RC, Gray AR, Chisholm AW, Delahunty CM. “Long-term consumption of high energy-dense snack foods on sensory-specific satiety and intake.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 May;95(5):1038-47. Epub 2012 Apr 4.

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