Effect of macronutrient composition on meal-induced thermogenesis in adolescents with obesity



Manipulation of meal macronutrient may be a useful way to modulate meal-induced thermogenesis (MIT) to induce increases in energy expenditure. The objective of this study was to examine in adolescents with obesity and of healthy weight and the effect of a high protein and high carbohydrate meal on MIT.


An acute cross-over study with adolescents aged 11–19 years was undertaken. Participants consumed in random order, a high 79% carbohydrate (HCHO), and a high 55% protein (HP) meal (adjusted to 25% of energy requirements). MIT and subjective appetite were assessed for 4 h postprandial and an ad libitum lunch served. Data calculated as total AUC and expressed as mean ± SEM.


Thirteen adolescents with obesity (mean BMI z score 2.3 ± 0.1) and 13 healthy weight (BMI z score 0.0 ± 0.2) participated. Mean MIT (% of energy intake) was greater after the HP (8.19 ± 0.709%) compared with the HCHO meal (4.36 ± 0.480%) (p < 0.001). The HP compared with the HCHO meal promoted greater fullness (12,994 ± 1208 vs 11,186 ± 1220 mm/4 h) (p = 0.016) and decreased hunger (8868 ± 1315 vs 10984 mm ± 1438 mm/4 h) (p = 0.007). These effects observed were independent of body weight.


High protein meals can increase MIT and fullness and reduce hunger compared with high carbohydrate meals in adolescents with obesity. Future research is warranted to determine if MIT can be targeted through manipulation of dietary choices to support weight management strategies.

Trial registration

This study is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR). Trial ID: ACTRN12612001066875.

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We thank Ms. Rachel Clarke for her assistance with the clinical trial. We gratefully acknowledge and thank the study participants and their families for their time and contribution to the study. This study was funded by the Monash University Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science Strategic Grant.

Author information




KN contributed to the design of the study, drafted the initial manuscript, designed the data collection instruments, recruited participants, coordinated and supervised data collection, and analysed the data. MPB, HT, and CEH contributed to the conceptualisation and design of the study, supervised data collection, and analysed the data. JB contributed to the conceptualisation and design of the study and recruited participants. All authors reviewed and revised the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

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Correspondence to Kay Nguo.

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Nguo, K., Huggins, C.E., Truby, H. et al. Effect of macronutrient composition on meal-induced thermogenesis in adolescents with obesity. Eur J Nutr 58, 2327–2333 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-018-1783-1

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  • Obesity
  • Adolescent
  • Acute feeding
  • Meal-induced thermogenesis
  • Macronutrients