Appetite Has Less of a Role in Calorie Consumption Than We Think

There are all sorts of prepackaged meals and snacks available in grocery stores these days marketed to appeal to the more health-conscious crowd, which claim to help fill us up and keep us feeling fuller longer. But do they really work?

A new study analysis suggests likely not. Researchers found that it doesn’t matter whether we end up feeling fuller for longer or hungrier sooner than expected, because there’s apparently no link between appetite and the amount of calories we consume. In other words, going for that 100-calorie snack pack probably won’t prevent you from eating more calories later on.

462 studies were analyzed, all of which included data from participating subjects about their calorie consumption and self-reported appetite levels. When it came to finding a link between appetite and calorie consumption, the results were almost perfectly split in half — 48.7 percent or 225 of the studies did show a link while 51.3 or 237 studies showed no link.

Only six percent of the studies included in the analysis made a direct statistical comparison between appetite level and calorie consumption, and out of this six percent, only half of them showed a link. This suggests that even if the other 94 percent had direct statistical comparisons between appetite and calories consumption, the link would likely still be very weak.

Of course, the researchers note that calorie consumption is influenced by many factors, so more research is needed to look at environmental, social and physical factors to paint a more accurate picture of how much we choose to eat. The researchers said that appetite, in fact, may be a far less important factor to consider than some of the other things they need to look at.

Regardless of what exactly drives us to eat more calories, the analysis proves that a big chunk of the food industry is tricking a lot of consumers into thinking they can eat less by choosing their products, when in fact, there’s no strong evidence that they will at all. The researchers emphasize that even if certain products do have an appetite suppressing effect, they should’t be marketed in a way that convinces consumers they’ll end up eating less overall.

One of the other big problems with claims like these is that many consumers who choose to buy these types of products are already restricting their calories for weight loss reasons, and those who are successful at losing weight tend to have heightened appetites compared to those who are not on calorie-restricted diets — making them potentially more prone to overeating later on after having their appetite-suppressing meal or snack. According to WebMD, our bodies increase our appetite to encourage us to eat about 100 calories more than normal for every two pounds of weight lost.

So, how can we all avoid going overboard on calories even while restricting them a bit for weight loss purposes when such evidence suggests appetite really doesn’t matter as much as we thought? Well, we could all start with turning to whole foods that are naturally high in protein and fiber, implementing strategies to cut down on large portion sizes, and of course drinking lots of water throughout the entire day not just to feel a bit fuller — but to stay well hydrated too.

Likewise, we’d all really benefit from eliminating foods and beverages that provoke our appetite and cravings. Seek to maintain balance across your entire diet and lifestyle choices, and you’ll probably do just great.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock


William C
William C12 months ago

Interesting, thank you.

W. C
W. C12 months ago


Pamela Lebowitz
Pamela Lebowitz2 years ago


Naomi Dreyer
Naomi D2 years ago


Tania N.
Tania N2 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

W. C.
W. C2 years ago

Thank you.

Ruth S.
Ruth S2 years ago


JD She
JD She2 years ago

If you binge eat, it doesn't matter what you eat