Project Year 2019
Texture to prevent overeating
Changing the texture of well-liked food can make people eat less. Food manufacturers can use this knowledge to prevent overeating.
The number of slices of bread you eat for breakfast is not only dependent on how hungry you feel. Satiety – the feeling of fullness – is a complex phenomenon. And it turns out that the texture of the food plays a key role.
“Research shows that food with longer oral exposure makes you reach the feeling of fullness faster. The more you need to chew the food, the less you will eat before feeling full”, says sensory scientist Paula Varela.
As part of the FoodSmack project, she investigates how healthy food products with a texture that enhances the feeling of fullness can help people control their eating and prevent obesity.
Barley bread with different textures
She and her colleague Tormod Næs tested eight barley bread varieties on Nofima’s sensory panel and consumer test groups.
They had the same ingredients and nutritional content, but were prepared differently in order to give different texture. The breads were described on a scale from hard and compact to soft and fluffy.
The results showed that the more compact breads, which take longer to chew, increased the feeling of satiety among most of the participants – but not all.
“Personal preference also affects eating behaviour. The more you enjoy a food, the more you will eat”, says Varela.
New opportunities for food manufacturers
Varela believes the relationship between texture, satiety and food intake will open up new opportunities for the industry when it comes to creating food products that help prevent overeating and obesity.
“We can achieve this by creating products that are just as liked, but is served in smaller portions and will be eaten far more slowly. This applies not only to bread, but to all types of commonly eaten food”, she says.
Nofima is open to cooperating with companies interested in creating such new and different food categories.
“And we have the sensory methods that can make it happen”, Varela concludes.
The Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural Products (FFL)