| Stomach Size Alone
Affects Food Intake
Although bigger people tend to
have bigger appetites, the size of the stomach--and not just the
size of the body--appears to affect the feeling of fullness, or
satiation, during and after a meal, new research shows.
The findings suggest that factors
that control stomach volume, independent of body size, are potential
targets in fighting obesity, according to researchers.
The investigators found that compared
with normal-weight adults, those who were overweight or obese
took longer to feel satiated at mealtime. Similarly, those whose
empty stomachs were larger needed more calories to feel completely
It was not, however, merely a matter
of bigger people having bigger stomachs, according to findings
published in the journal Gastroenterology.
Instead, fasting gastric volume--the
size of a person's empty stomach--was related to a feeling of
fullness independent of body size, researchers at the Mayo Clinic
College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, found.
Their study included 134 healthy
volunteers who, after an overnight fast, drank a liquid meal until
they reached maximum satiation. Their stomach volume before and
after eating was measured through non-invasive imaging.
The researchers found that both
body mass index (BMI) and fasting gastric volume were independently
linked to the time it took participants to become full.
The fact that BMI and stomach size
did not go hand-in-hand is "somewhat surprising," study author
Dr. Michael Camilleri told Reuters Health, and illustrates that
stomach volume is determined by more than mere body size.
Moreover, according to Camilleri,
the study suggests that factors governing stomach volume might
help predispose people to obesity and could serve as targets for
These control mechanisms could
range from eating patterns--such as whether a person eats small
meals throughout the day or tends to binge--to hormones, to the
nerves that control stomach contraction and relaxation, Camilleri
Addressing these factors might
then alter how long it takes a person to feel full. For example,
Camilleri explained, changes in diet or patterns of food intake
might do the job, as could medications that act on the nerves
or hormones that control stomach volume, or other procedures or
devices that change gastric volume.
Before any of this becomes reality,
he noted, further research is needed to pinpoint the critical
controls involved in determining stomach volume.
SOURCE: Gastroenterology, February
Reference Source 89