Inulin-type fructans and whey protein both modulate appetite but only fructans alter gut microbiota in adults with overweight/obesity: A randomized controlled trial

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Independently, prebiotics and dietary protein have been shown to improve weight loss and/or alter appetite. Our objective was to determine the effect of combined prebiotic and whey protein on appetite, body composition and gut microbiota in adults with overweight/obesity.

Methods and results

In a 12 week, placebo-controlled, double-blind study, 125 adults with overweight/obesity were randomly assigned to receive isocaloric snack bars of: (1) Control; (2) Inulin-type fructans (ITF); (3) Whey protein; (4) ITF + Whey protein. Appetite, body composition and gut microbiota composition/genetic potential were assessed. Compared to Control, body fat was significantly reduced in the Whey protein group at 12 wks. Hunger, desire to eat and prospective food consumption were all lower with ITF, Whey protein and ITF + Whey protein compared to Control at 12 wks. Microbial community structure differed from 0 to 12 wks in the ITF and ITF +Whey Protein groups (i.e. increased Bifidobacterium) but not Whey Protein or Control. Changes in microbial genetic potential were seen between Control and ITF-containing treatments.


Adding ITF, whey protein or both to snack bars improved several aspects of appetite control. Changes in gut microbiota may explain in part the effects of ITF but likely not whey protein.

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