Acute effects of breakfasts containing alpha-lactalbumin, or gelatin with or without added tryptophan, on hunger, 'satiety' hormones and amino acid profiles. Academic Article uri icon


  • Proteins are the most satiating macronutrients. Tryptophan (TRP) may contribute to the satiating effect, as it serves as a precursor for the anorexigenic neurotransmitter serotonin. To address the role of TRP in the satiating properties of dietary protein, we compared three different breakfasts, containing either alpha-lactalbumin (high in TRP), gelatin (low in TRP) or gelatin with added TRP (gelatin+TRP, high in TRP), on appetite. Twenty-four subjects (22-29 kg/m2; aged 19-37 years) received a subject-specific breakfast at t = 0 with 10, 55 and 35 % energy from protein, carbohydrate and fat respectively in a randomised, single-blind design. Hunger, glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1, ghrelin, amino acid concentrations and energy intake during a subsequent lunch were determined. Suppression of hunger was stronger 240 min after the breakfast with alpha-lactalbumin compared with gelatin and gelatin+TRP. Total plasma amino acid concentrations were lower with alpha-lactalbumin compared with gelatin with or without TRP (from t = 180-240 min). TRP concentrations were higher after alpha-lactalbumin than after gelatin with or without TRP from t = 0-100 min, whereas from t = 100-240 min, TRP concentrations were lower after gelatin than after alpha-lactalbumin and gelatin+TRP. The plasma ratio of TRP to other large neutral amino acids (LNAA) was, only at t = 100 min, lower after gelatin+TRP than after the other breakfasts. Plasma amino acid responses, TRP concentrations and TRP:LNAA ratios were not correlated with hunger. GLP-1 and ghrelin concentrations were similar for all diets. Energy intake during a subsequent lunch was similar for all diets. Summarised, an alpha-lactalbumin breakfast suppresses hunger more than a gelatin or gelatin+TRP breakfast. This cannot be explained by (possible) differences found in TRP concentrations and TRP:LNAA ratios in the breakfasts and in plasma, as well as in circulating total amino acids, GLP-1 and ghrelin.

published proceedings

  • Br J Nutr

altmetric score

  • 6.8

author list (cited authors)

  • Nieuwenhuizen, A. G., Hochstenbach-Waelen, A., Veldhorst, M., Westerterp, K. R., Engelen, M., Brummer, R., Deutz, N., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S.

citation count

  • 44

complete list of authors

  • Nieuwenhuizen, Arie G||Hochstenbach-Waelen, Ananda||Veldhorst, Margriet AB||Westerterp, Klaas R||Engelen, MariĆ«lle PKJ||Brummer, Robert-Jan M||Deutz, Nicolaas EP||Westerterp-Plantenga, Margriet S

publication date

  • June 2009