Whether protein is the macronutrient with the strongest satiety effect remains a matter of debate because of the diversity of study designs employed. The aim of the present study was to compare the effect of different liquid preloads made up of proteins, fats or carbohydrates only, under stringently controlled conditions, on satiety. Fifty-six subjects participated in the present study which consisted of four randomised test days, i.e. 1 d per macronutrient and one control day. During each test day, the subjects were required to consume the preload in full, and then their subsequent food intake was measured. The volunteers were divided into two groups: the first (T0) group, which consumed the preload immediately before lunch, and the second (T1) group, which consumed it 1 h beforehand. The main results showed that the participants consumed significantly less at lunch following the consumption of all three preloads than on the no-preload day, and consumed less after the consumption of the carbohydrate preload than after the consumption of the lipid preload. When energy from the preload was included, overall energy intake was significantly greater in all the three preload conditions than in the situation involving no preload, with only partial compensation for preload energy in all conditions. Total daily energy intake was highest after the lipid preload ingestion, but this could be a chance finding since it was not significantly higher than that observed after protein or carbohydrate preload ingestion. No significant effects of the interval between the preload and test meal ingestion were found. These results do not confirm the greater satiety effect of proteins than of carbohydrates, but partially confirm the weaker effect of fats.