European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 533–539 | Cite as

The effect of agar jelly on energy expenditure, appetite, gastric emptying and glycaemic response

  • Miriam E. CleggEmail author
  • Amir Shafat
Original Contribution


Background and purpose

Agar contains a high amount of soluble fibre and has been shown to delay gastric emptying (GE) without impacting on glycaemic response (GR). The current study aimed to further the limited data on the effect of agar on metabolism by assessing the effects on GE and GR as well as appetite- and diet-induced thermogenesis (DIT).


In this randomized control trial, eleven healthy volunteers were tested on two occasions following an overnight fast. Following baseline and resting measurements, volunteers were either fed a fruit-flavoured drink (liquid) or consumed a fruit-flavoured jelly (jelly). The two were exactly the same in composition except the jelly contained 4 g of agar crystals. Both contained 50 g of available carbohydrate. DIT was measured using indirect calorimetry, GE using the 13C sodium acetate breath test, appetite using visual analogue scale and GR using finger prick blood samples.


The jelly significantly delayed GE across all time points—latency phase (p = 0.07), lag phase (p = 0.04), half-time (p < 0.0001), ascension time (p = 0.025). The jelly also increased all appetite parameters—hunger (p = 0.006), fullness (p = 0.035), desire to eat (p = 0.03) and prospective consumption (p = 0.011). However, there were no significant differences in either GR or postprandial DIT between the liquid and jelly.


Agar delays GE and increases appetite but does not change GR or DIT most probably due to the increase in viscosity caused by the agar jelly.


Jelly Appetite Gastric emptying Glycaemic response 


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest associated with this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport and Health Sciences, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Functional Food CentreOxford Brookes UniversityOxfordUK
  2. 2.Physiology, School of MedicineNational University of IrelandGalwayIreland

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