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 repectively 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 ciruclating total amino acids, GLP-1 and ghrelin.
Nieuwenhuizen, A. G., Hochstenbach-Waelen, A., Veldhorst, M. A. B., Westerterp, K. R., Engelen, M. P., Brummer, R. J., Deutz, N. E., & Westerterp-Plantenga, M. S. (2009). Acute effects of breakfasts containing alpha-lactalbumin, or gelatin with or without added tryptophan, on hunger, 'satiety' hormones and amino acid profiles. British Journal of Nutrition, 101(12), 1859-1866. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114508131774