Most people get enough energy from their 3 main meals each day, however, they gain weight as a direct result of snacking. This has led to new dietary habits forming to help manage appetite, with the most popular being the consumption of regular, small portions of protein. So many people, women especially, are enjoying large pots of Greek yogurt throughout the day in the belief that it will help them to lose weight, rather than gain.
If you are one of these people we have some bad news to report! A recent study by scientists in the Department of Nutrition & Exercise Physiology at University of Missouri has concluded that consuming a high protein Greek yogurt snack made no difference to appetite.
Why Greek Yogurt?
Greek Yogurt tends to contain around 20–25 grams of protein per portion, compared to 5-7 grams of protein in standard yogurts. It was thought that the additional protein would aid appetite control and fat loss. Other studies have shown a relationship between increased protein and amino acid consumption and appetite control, mostly due to the release of the PYY when we digest proteins. PYY is an amino acid and it helps to suppress appetite.
The study examined the effects of consuming a 160 Calorie portion of higher protein Greek-style yogurt in healthy women. 32 women with an average age of 27 years and average BMI of 23 were given a high protein yogurt or a normal yoghurt in a randomized study. The yogurts were eaten 3 hours after lunch.
“No differences in afternoon appetite control, eating initiation, or subsequent food intake were observed when comparing two commonly consumed, relatively small (160 kcal) afternoon yogurt snacks, varying in protein content (5 g vs. 14 g protein).” Ortinau et al, 2013.
The results did not show any difference in appetite between women who had high protein yogurt and those who had normal yogurt. The study concluded that eating habits play a more important role than the food itself.
While there is evidence to support the idea that increasing protein intake can help you to manage appetite, making small changes to your diet with addressing the bigger picture is not going to make any real difference to your weight. To lose weight you need to reduce total calories throughout the day, and this cannot be done by hoping to reduce your appetite. You need to plan your meals and stop all snacking. And one of the worst mistakes you can make is to eat food that supposedly burns fat – this is a myth and a curse of the modern age! Food does not burn fat, exercise burns fat!
- “The effects of increased dietary protein yogurt snack in the afternoon on appetite control and eating initiation in healthy women” by Laura C Ortinau, Julie M Culp, Heather A Hoertel, Steve M Douglas and Heather J Leidy. Nutrition Journal 2013, 12:71 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-12-71
- Read the report (pdf): The effects of increased dietary protein yogurt