Food texture and food intake : the role of oral sensory exposure

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Background and objective: In view of the growing epidemic of obesity, it is important to investigate factors which influence food intake. Food texture has been shown to play a role in food intake regulation but underlying explaining mechanisms are unknown. The aim of this thesis was to determine the effect of food texture on satiation (assessed as ad libitum food intake) and to investigate the mediating role of oral sensory exposure and gastro-intestinal physiology in this effect.
Methods: We started by investigating the effect of food viscosity on ad libitum food intake (n=108). Next, we investigated whether the effect of viscosity could be related to eating effort and/or eating rate (n=49) or to the release of the gastro-intestinal hormones ghrelin, CCK and GLP-1 (n=33). To further explore the role of oral sensory exposure, we investigated the effect of changing bite size and oral processing time of a semi-solid food on satiation (n=22), and the effect of changing food texture of three pairs of solid foods on satiation (n=106). Finally, we observed eating behavior and retro-nasal aroma release in normal weight and overweight subjects (n=54).
Results: Viscosity of food had a clear effect on food intake; increasing viscosity significantly decreased ad libitum food intake and the difference in intake between the liquid and semi-solid product ranged from 29% to 34% in different settings. Eating rate played an important role; the liquid product was consumed significantly faster than the semi-solid product and a standardized eating rate led to similar intakes of these products. The selected gastro-intestinal hormones could not explain the effect of viscosity on food intake; a fixed amount of the liquid and semi-solid test product resulted in a similar response of the hormones. Food intake of a semi-solid food was significantly less when oral processing time was fixed to 9 s compared to 3 s (on average a difference of 42 g) and when consumed with fixed small bite sizes (≈ 5 g) compared to large bite sizes (≈ 15 g) (on average a difference of 106 g). Differences in food texture of solid foods, aimed to change oral processing time, did not affect food intake. Texture differences were probably too subtle to lead to differences in eating rate and subsequently to differences in food intake. Significant positive associations between food intake and eating behaviors such as eating rate and bite size were observed. Small to no differences in eating behavior and retro-nasal aroma release were found between normal weight and overweight subjects.
Conclusion: The results of this thesis show that food viscosity has a direct effect on food intake. Oral sensory exposure plays a major role in this since changing eating rate, oral processing time and bite size affected food intake. These factors contribute to the effect of food texture on food intake. In addition, eating rate and bite size were characteristics of the eating style of an individual.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • de Graaf, Kees, Promotor
  • Mars, Monica, Co-promotor
  • de Wijk, René, Co-promotor
Award date30 Jun 2010
Place of Publication[S.l.
Print ISBNs9789085856665
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2010


  • food intake
  • appetite control
  • texture
  • viscosity
  • sensory evaluation
  • nutrition physiology
  • eating rates


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