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When you feel full, you eat less. That’s the motivation behind studies on appetite. There is a sense of fullness or satisfaction we often experience after a substantial meal – and for consumers looking to control their weight or manage calorie intake, that feeling matters.

Science shows pea protein can provide it.

“If you consume NUTRALYS® pea protein in a healthy snack in the morning, you will be able to reduce food consumption during a meal,” says Laetitia Guérin-Deremaux, Head of Nutrition and Health R&D at Roquette. That’s not wishful thinking – in a study published in 2016, the data bore it out.

Getting that data took some effort, thoughtful planning – and one all-you-care-to-eat buffet.

Here’s how it happened*.

How much difference does a snack make?

Protein snacks have long been known to help satiety, or feelings of fullness, Guérin-Deremaux says. But until recently, the best research focused on dairy protein. Her team wanted to contribute research for pea protein.

Why? Consumers care. As more consider ways to reduce animal protein intake, they want to be sure they can still reach their other diet goals.

For many, that means keeping calorie counts in check. And feeling full can help them do that.

“Consumers want to have this feeling after eating a snack or at the end of a meal,” says Anne-Sophie Vercruysse, Global Market Manager for Plant Proteins at Roquette. “And in the end, the goal is managing their weight.”

To measure whether NUTRALYS® could help consumers to that, Roquette partnered with Leatherhead Food Research in the United Kingdom. Researchers designed a study that would measure volunteers’ response to protein in two ways: A questionnaire would track how full they felt. And researchers would count the calories consumed by eaters at a meal offered during the study.

36 subjects took part in the study. Researchers chose only volunteers who regularly ate breakfast, to ensure study conditions would not deviate dramatically from habits they already were accustomed to. Participants agreed to spend most of a day at Leatherhead’s facility – and to eat all their meals there during that time.

Volunteers arrived at 7:45am and were given a breakfast of cereal and milk that lined up with their usual daily portion. At 11am, each was given a late-morning snack: A vegetable soup supplemented in one of four ways. Some subjects took a 15-gram portion of NUTRALYS® with their soup. Some took 30g of NUTRALYS®. Some took 30g of whey protein instead. And some, the control group, ate soup with no added protein at all.

Volunteers were free to spend their time between meals as they chose – relaxing, reading, studying. At regular intervals, they took short surveys asking them how full they felt.

At 2pm, the volunteers ended their day with a buffet meal. They could eat as little or as much as they wished, and researchers counted calories consumed by each participant.

The question: Would participants who’d snacked with NUTRALYS® eat fewer calories throughout the day than those who snacked on whey protein or no protein at all?

Comparing the results

Each volunteer repeated the study conditions for several days, testing a different soup supplement – 15g of NUTRALYS®, 30g of NUTRALYS®, 30g of whey or no protein at all – each time. So by the end of the study, researchers had data for every participant with every variable.

With four different types of protein snack consumed, the final data offered many ways to compare.

  • Volunteers who had the 30g NUTRALYS® snack reported feeling more full than those who had the snack with protein fortification or who had the 15g NUTRALYS® snack.
  • Volunteers who had the snack with no added protein reported feeling as full as those who had the 30g whey snack or the 15g NUTRALYS® snack.
  • And more interestingly, both protein types reduced the overall food intake at lunch. Caloric intake was reduced in volunteers who had the 15g or 30g NUTRALYS® snack and in those who had the 30g whey snack. Data showed no statistical difference between the whey and NUTRALYS® snacks.

The bottom line: If curbing cravings is the goal, pea protein can make an effective snack.

And that can help consumers get results they truly want.

“Fullness isn’t the final goal for consumers,” Guérin-Deremaux says. “The goal is reduced energy consumption. A NUTRALYS® snack can help them reach that goal, controlling body weight by limiting caloric intake.”

The 2016 study was published in the Journal of Nutritional Health & Food Science, an independent peer-reviewed scientific journal.

See all NUTRALYS® Health Benefits & Studies

*NUTRALYS® health benefits are supported by one single clinical study. Food manufacturers who would like to use NUTRALYS® pea protein for these benefits will have to run its own studies based on its own formulation.

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