Lesser suppression of energy intake by orally ingested whey protein in healthy older men compared with young controls

Caroline Giezenaar, Laurence G. Trahair, Rachael Rigda, Amy T. Hutchison, Christine Feinle-Bisset, Natalie D. Luscombe-Marsh, Trygve Hausken, Karen L. Jones, Michael Horowitz, Ian Chapman, Stijn Soenen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


Protein-rich supplements are used widely for the management of malnutrition in young and older people. Protein is the most satiating of the macronutrients in young. It is not known how the effects of oral protein ingestion on energy intake, appetite, and gastric emptying are modified by age. The aim of the study was to determine the suppression of energy intake by protein compared with control and underlying gastric-emptying and appetite responses of oral whey protein drinks in eight healthy older men (69-80 yr) compared with eight young male controls (18-34 yr). Subjects were studied on three occasions to determine the effects of protein loads of 30 g/120 kcal and 70 g/280 kcal compared with a flavored water control-drink (0 g whey protein) on energy intake (ad libitum buffet-style meal), and gastric emptying (three-dimensional-ultrasonography) and appetite (0-180 min) in a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design. Energy intake was suppressed by the protein compared with control (P = 0.034). Suppression of energy intake by protein was less in older men (1 ± 5%) than in young controls (15 ± 2%; P= 0.008). Cumulative energy intake (meal+drink) on the protein drink days compared with the control day increased more in older (18 ± 6%) men than young (1 ± 3%) controls (P = 0.008). Gastric emptying of all three drinks was slower in older men (50% gastric-emptying time: 68 ± 5 min) than young controls (36 ± 5 min; P= 0.007). Appetite decreased in young, while it increased in older (P < 0.05). In summary, despite having slower gastric emptying, elderly men exhibited blunted protein-induced suppression of energy intake by whey protein compared with young controls, so that in the elderly men, protein ingestion increased overall energy intake more than in the young men.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R845-R854
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


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