Background: Preload studies are used to investigate the satiating effects of foods and food ingredients. However, the design of preload studies is complex, with many methodological considerations influencing appetite responses. The aim of this pilot investigation was to determine acceptability, and optimise methods, for a future satiety preload study. Specifically, we investigated the effects of altering (i) energy intake at a standardised breakfast (gender-specific or non-gender specific), and (ii) the duration between mid-morning preload and ad libitum lunch meal, on morning appetite scores and energy intake at lunch.
Methods: Participants attended a single study visit. Female participants consumed a 214-kcal breakfast (n = 10) or 266-kcal breakfast (n = 10), equivalent to 10% of recommended daily energy intakes for females and males, respectively. Male participants (n = 20) consumed a 266-kcal breakfast. All participants received a 250-ml orange juice preload 2 h after breakfast. The impact of different study timings was evaluated in male participants, with 10 males following one protocol (protocol 1) and 10 males following another (protocol 2). The duration between preload and ad libitum lunch meal was 2 h (protocol 1) or 2.5 h (protocol 2), with the ad libitum lunch meal provided at 12.00 or 13.00, respectively. All female participants followed protocol 2. Visual analogue scale (VAS) questionnaires were used to assess appetite responses and food/drink palatability.
Results: Correlation between male and female appetite scores was higher with the provision of a gender-specific breakfast, compared to non-gender-specific breakfast (Pearson correlation of 0.747 and 0.479, respectively). No differences in subjective appetite or ad libitum energy intake were found between protocols 1 and 2. VAS mean ratings of liking, enjoyment, and palatability were all > 66 out of 100 mm for breakfast, preload, and lunch meals.
Conclusions: The findings of this pilot study confirm the acceptability of this methodology for future satiety preload studies. Appetite scores increased from preload to ad libitum lunch meal; however, no specific differences were found between protocols. The results highlight the importance of considering energy intake prior to preload provision, with a gender-specific breakfast improving the correlation between male and female appetite score responses to a morning preload.