The Influence of Oral Lubrication on Food Intake: A Proof-of-concept Study
As overeating, overweight and obesity remain public health concerns, it is crucial to design satiety-enhancing foods that suppress appetite and lower snack intake. Existing research identifies oro-sensory targets to promote satiation and satiety, yet it remains unclear as to whether it is ‘chewing’ or ‘oral lubrication’ that might amplify satiation signals. In this study, techniques from experimental psychology, food material science and mechanical engineering have been combined to develop model foods to investigate the role of chewing and oral lubrication on food intake. Novel model gels, similar in pleasantness, were given as a preload then their effects on subjective appetite and intake of a salty snack were measured in a between-subjects design. Three mint flavoured hydrogels were engineered to vary in their texture (fracture stress) and lubrication (inverse of coefficient of friction), and a control group received mint tea. Results showed that snack intake was suppressed by 32% after eating the low chewing/high lubricating preload compared to the high chewing/low lubricating preload (p < 0.05). Hunger ratings decreased from t1 to t3 (p < 0.05), however differences between conditions were subtle and not significant. Thus, this proof-of-concept study demonstrates that manipulating oral lubrication is a promising new construct to reduce snack intake that merits future research in the oro-sensory satiety domain.