The effect of sensory-nutrient congruency and uncertainty on food intake

Pleunie S. Hogenkamp, Jeff M Brunstrom, A. Yeganeh, S. Englund, E. Folmerz, Danielle Ferriday, H.B. Schiöth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


Sensory attributes guide the amount people eat. We tested the hypotheses that incongruent pairing of a sensory (textural) cue with a post-ingestive outcome compromises this process, leading to poor energy compensation, and that poor compensation can be explained by uncertainty, i.e. a situation in which sensory attributes are not clearly associated with the post-ingestive consequences.

In a cross-over experiment, 27 participants (21±2.4years, BMI=22.2±1.6 kg/m2) consumed a preload that was low or high in energy density, and either liquid or semi-solid. This rendered four conditions, two ‘congruent’ (low-energy/liquid; high-energy/semi-solid) and two ‘incongruent’ (low-energy/semi-solid; high-energy/liquid). Preloads were consumed during breakfast, lunch and dinner, on three consecutive days, followed by an ad libitum meal. At first exposure, intake was similar after receiving low-energy or high-energy preloads in the incongruent condition, but greater after the low-energy preload in the congruent condition (energy*incongruent/congruent, p=0.04). Repeated exposure ‘corrected’ the initial lack of compensation in the incongruent condition (day*energy*incongruent/congruent: p=0.02). In a second experiment, 24 participants (23±2.9years, BMI=22.8±4.6kg/m2) participated in three breakfast sessions. They were served a lower (53 kcal/100g) or a higher-energy (94 kcal/100g) preload, or no preload, followed by an ad libitum meal 30min later. They received ambiguous information about the energy density of the preload, and rated how confident they were about the version they expected to consume after tasting. Confidence ratings were negatively associated with energy compensation after consuming the high energy-dense preload (r=-0.61; p=0.001). This suggests that expected satiation confidence is another cognitive modality that modifies short-term regulation of food intake.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAppetite
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour


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