Snacking is often regarded as a cause of overweight. However, the main issue is to determine whether the consumption of snacks leads to an increase in energy intake or whether a compensation phenomenon exists and maintains daily energy intake at a constant level. The objective of the present study was to determine whether the repeated consumption of a high-protein, moderate-energy, cheesy snack given as a preload 1 h before a meal altered energy intake at the next meal and then throughout the day, and if this kind of snack was energetically compensated. Normal-weight women (n 27) were recruited for the study. All subjects were healthy non-smokers, aged 18–60 years. The snacks consisted of portions of cheese containing 22 g protein, with an energy value of 836 kJ. Two types of snack were compared, differing in terms of the type of milk proteins they contained: the first contained casein only (CAS), while the second contained a mixture of casein and whey proteins (WHEY+CAS; 2:1). The principal finding of the present study was that the ingestion of the two snacks 1 h before lunch led to energy compensation of 83·1 (sem 9·4) and 67·0 (sem 16·4) % for WHEY+CAS and CAS respectively, at lunch, and 121·6 (sem 36·5) and 142·1 (sem 29·7) % for WHEY+CAS and CAS respectively, regarding the whole-day energy intake. In conclusion, the repeated consumption of a high-protein, moderate-energy, regular cheesy snack should not promote overweight because energy intake appears to be regulated during subsequent meals on the same day.
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