Biological response to meal ingestion: Gender differences

Hugo Monrroy, Giulio Borghi, Teodora Pribic, Carmen Galan, Adoracion Nieto, Nuria Amigo, Anna Accarino, Xavier Correig, Fernando Azpiroz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearch

14 Citations (Scopus)


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. In a previous study, we demonstrated that women enjoyed and tolerated lower meal loads than men. Hence, we hypothesized that with the same meal load, their postprandial response is more pronounced than in men. We performed a randomized parallel trial in 12 women and 12 men comparing the postprandial responses to a palatable comfort meal. We measured homeostatic sensations (hunger/satiety, fullness) and hedonic sensations (digestive well-being, mood) on 10 cm scales, vagal tone by heart ratio variability and the metabolomic profile before and after meal ingestion. Gender differences were analyzed by repeated measures ANCOVA. Overall (n = 24), ingestion of the probe meal induced satiation, fullness, digestive well-being and improved mood (main time-effect p ≤ 0.005 for all). Women exhibited a more intense sensory experience, specially more postprandial fullness, than men [main gender-effect F (1, 21) = 7.14; p = 0.014]; hedonic responses in women also tended to be stronger than in men. Women exhibited more pronounced effects on vagal tone [main gender-effect F (1, 21) = 5.5; p = 0.029] and a different lipoprotein response than men. In conclusion, our data indicate that gender influences the responses to meal ingestion, and these differences may explain the predisposition and higher incidence in women of meal-related functional disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Article number702
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019


  • Gender differences
  • Hedonic response
  • Homeostatic response
  • Meal ingestion
  • Metabolomic response
  • Postprandial sensations


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