DDW: Fatty Appetizer Saps Appetite

May 21, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A small, high-fat appetizer such as cream soup may help curb overeating during the rest of the meal, a researcher here suggested.

WASHINGTON, May 21 -- A small, high fat appetizer such as cream soup may help curb overeating during the subsequent meal, a researcher suggested here.

Study participants who started off with a serving of high-fat soup consumed about 20% less during an "all you can eat" pizza meal, compared with those who started off with a no-fat soup, said Xiaohong Xu, Ph.D., of the VA Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

The results held true for 12 lean study participants (average BMI 22.8) as well as for 12 obese participants (average BMI 35.3), Dr. Xu said at the Digestive Disease Week sessions.

Each volunteer came to the lab for two pizza meals, where they were asked to eat as much as they could. Before the first meal, they were served Campbell's cream of chicken soup, which has a 98% fat content, Dr. Xu said. Before the second meal they were given a soup consisting of two eggs boiled in water, which was high in protein but contained no fat.

Both soup servings contained 160 calories and were of equal volume. After the soup, volunteers had to wait 20 minutes before digging into the pizza.

The researchers assessed food intake by the caloric count of the pizza eaten. They also assessed appetite levels after the soup portion of the meal and measured gastric slow waves.

Compared with the no-fat soup, the high-fat soup significantly reduced the average caloric intake of pizza in the lean volunteers (962 kcal vs. 1,188.5 kcal; P

Any high-fat appetizer, such as cheese, would likely have a similar effect, Dr. Xu said. When fat is absorbed into the small intestine, it induces satiety and slows gastric emptying, the researchers said.