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Does coffee affect appetite?

By: Louise Durack
27 June, 2013

Can’t start the day without your coffee? Is that a bad thing? Studies have shown that coffee has a large number of protective health benefits, such as reducing the risks of diabetes, stroke, some forms of cancer, mental illness, and overall mortality. But how does it affect your appetite?

That is the question being asked by PhD candidate Matt Schubert and Associate Professor Ben Desbrow from Griffith University’s Centre for Health Practice Innovation.

"Anecdotally, people have reported feeling less hungry after consuming a coffee, and some people prefer to have coffee instead of breakfast," Schubert said.

"However,when you observe what people pair with their coffees in a coffee shop setting, you see consumption of high-fat, sweet foods. What we want to explore is whether there is an effect of coffee on food preference and what the implications of this might be for weight control."

Research trials underway

To examine this, research participants are undertaking four trials where they are provided with two coffee beverages, one with a breakfast meal and another two hours later.

Over 4-5 hours (breakfast to lunch) the researchers then periodically assess perceptions of hunger, fullness, and liking and wanting of particular foods to examine appetite responses.

"So far, we’re seeing a decrease in hunger and increase in fullness in the caffeinated coffee condition, a trend we’re not observing with decaffeinated coffee or caffeine alone for some individuals," Schubert said.

"This may be important for weight control, as any decrease in appetite could help reduce food intake.

"If you experience a decrease in energy intake, while maintaining or increasing energy expended through exercise and movement, you could use this strategy to assist with maintaining a healthy body weight."

The researchers are currently recruiting participants for this ongoing study. To become involved, participation requires that you are healthy, between 18-45 years old, non-smoking, and have no chronic diseases or special diet.

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