Effect of flavour of liquid Ensure diet supplement on energy intake in male SD rats

Zoe A Archer, Yvonne A Brown, D Vernon Rayner, R James Stubbs, Julian Mercer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Outbred male Sprague-Dawley rats were provided with one of the four flavours of the liquid diet, Ensure, in addition to chow pellets, to examine whether differences in flavour lead to differences in energy intake i.e. degree of over-consumption. For half the rats, the Ensure supplement was provided for 14 days and then withdrawn for the final 8 days of the study, whereas the remaining animals were allowed to consume Ensure for 22 days. All four flavours of Ensure, chocolate, vanilla, coffee and asparagus, induced a sustained increase in daily energy intake of approximately 15%. There was an effect of flavour on initial consumption of the Ensure diet, with coffee and asparagus flavours being consumed less avidly than vanilla or chocolate. However, this effect was short-lived. Overall, there was no effect of flavour on body weight gain, energy intake from Ensure, total energy intake, body composition, or measured blood hormones and metabolites. Withdrawal of Ensure resulted in reductions in body weight gain, total energy intake, fat but not lean tissue mass, and concentrations of blood leptin, non-esterified fatty acids and triglycerides, but there was no effect of the flavour of Ensure previously supplied on any of these parameters. The ability of the liquid diet, Ensure, to stimulate long-term caloric over-consumption is not due to its flavouring. Rather, other attributes of Ensure must be more important, such as its intrinsic flavour, liquid formulation, macronutrient composition, and ease of ingestion, digestion and absorption.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-419
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
Early online date10 Aug 2006
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2006


  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Blood Glucose
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Energy Intake
  • Fatty Acids
  • Flavoring Agents
  • Insulin
  • Male
  • Radioimmunoassay
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Taste
  • Time Factors


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