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Effects of lipid emulsion particle size on satiety and energy intake: a randomised cross-over trial

European Journal of Clinical Nutritionvolume 72pages349357 (2018) | Download Citation



Emulsified lipids, with central lipid core surrounded by polar lipid ‘protective coat’, have been proposed to stimulate the ileal brake, alter appetite, food intake and aid weight control. In addition to lipid composition, emulsion particle size may contribute to efficacy with small droplets providing a larger surface area for gastrointestinal (GI) lipase action and larger droplets prolonging and delaying digestion in the GI tract. Tube feeding studies delivering emulsions directly into the small intestine show clear effects of smaller particle size on appetite and food intake, but evidence from oral feeding studies is sparse. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of lipid emulsion particle size on appetite response and food intake.


In a three-arm randomised cross-over, high-phospholipid (PL) dairy lipid emulsions or matched control were consumed at breakfast within a yoghurt smoothie: (i) large-particle size emulsion, LPE (diameter 0.759 µm, 10 g lipid emulsion, 190 g yoghurt), (ii) small-particle size emulsion, SPE (diameter 0.290 µm, 10 g lipid emulsion, 190 g yoghurt), (iii) control non-emulsion, NE (10 g non-emulsion lipid, 190 g yoghurt). Twenty male participants completed the study, where postprandial appetite response was rated using visual analogue scales (VAS) and ad libitum energy intake at a lunch meal measured 3 h later.


There was a trend for LPE to suppress hunger (P = 0.08) and enhance fullness (P = 0.24) relative to both SPE and NE but not statistically significant, and no significant effect of either emulsion on food intake at the lunch meal (P > 0.05).


Altering particle size of a high-PL emulsion did not enhance satiety or alter eating behaviour in a group of lean men.

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We thank Eddie Yao and Sally Xiong for preparation and analysis of lipid emulsion PS and stability. Dr Anne-Thea McGill, Sunnie Xin, Cathy Zhong and Shelley Baty assisted in the conduct of the trial. Funding for this intervention study was provided by LactoPharma, New Zealand. Fonterra Co-operative provided ingredients for preparation of the lipid/water emulsions.

Author contributions

S.D.P.: Principal investigator, protocol design, data analysis and interpretation, lead writer for manuscript. S.C.B.: Statitican analysis of the data set. A.K.M.: Preparation of lipid products. S.-Y.Q.: Oversight of development and preparation of emulsion, analysis of lipid particle size. S.K.: Manuscript preparation. K.R.W.: Trial manager, recruitment, screening and conduct of study.

Author information


  1. Human Nutrition Unit, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Sally D. Poppitt
    • , Sophie Kindleysides
    •  & Katy R. Wiessing
  2. School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Sally D. Poppitt
    •  & Katy R. Wiessing
  3. Department of Medicine, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Sally D. Poppitt
  4. Department of Statistics, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Stephanie C. Budgett
  5. Fonterra Research and Development Centre, Palmerston North, New Zealand

    • Alastair K. MacGibbon
  6. Department of Food Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

    • Siew-Young Quek


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Conflict of interest

S.D.P. is the Fonterra Chair of Human Nutrition, University of Auckland, New Zealand. A.K.M. is an employee of Fonterra Co-operative Group, New Zealand. The remaining authors declare that they have no competing interests

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sally D. Poppitt.

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