A study published in The Journal of Nutrition shows that consumption of a protein-rich afternoon snack containing soy protein may reduce appetite, delay subsequent eating, and improve diet quality in teens compared to other snack options.
The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Missouri in collaboration with DuPont Nutrition & Health.
The researchers randomly assigned 31 healthy, normal to overweight adolescents, aged 13–19, who usually consume an afternoon snack to consume either a chocolate-peanut-caramel-flavored pudding snack formulated with soy protein (26 g protein, 6 g fat, 27 g carbohydrate), a snack with a “typical” nutrition profile that is higher in fat (4 g protein, 12 g fat, 32 g carbohydrate), or no snack. Participants consumed the assigned snacks for three days, followed by a series of tests conducted after consumption on the fourth day.
The study found that incorporation of a protein-rich afternoon snack improves total daily diet quality. Teens who received the high fat snack or no snack subsequently consumed more snacks high in fat and sugar that evening than those who consumed the protein-rich snack (the high fat snack subjects consumed 20% more, while the no snack subjects consumed 30% more). Daily protein intake was higher and fat intake was lower when a protein snack was provided versus a high fat snack or no snack, but no differences in daily energy intake were observed between treatments.
The study also found that inclusion of an afternoon snack reduces appetite over the course of the afternoon, but the soy protein snack leads to a greater reduction in post-snack appetite. In addition, when participants consumed the protein-rich snack, their request for their next meal was delayed by 20 minutes compared to the group that did not receive a snack.