Dietary regulation of appetite may contribute to the prevention and management of excess body weight. The present study examined the effect of consumption of individual dairy products as snacks on appetite and subsequent ad libitum lunch energy intake. In a randomised cross-over trial, forty overweight men (age 32 (sd 9) years; BMI 27 (sd 2) kg/m2) attended four sessions 1 week apart and received three isoenergetic (841 kJ) and isovolumetric (410 ml) servings of dairy snacks or water (control) 120 min after breakfast. Appetite profile was determined throughout the morning and ad libitum energy intake was assessed 90 min after the intake of snacks. Concentrations of amino acids, glucose, insulin, ghrelin and peptide tyrosine tyrosine were measured at baseline (0 min) and 80 min after the intake of snacks. Although the results showed that yogurt had the greatest suppressive effect on appetite, this could be confounded by the poor sensory ratings of yogurt. Hunger rating was 8, 10 and 24 % (P < 0·001) lower after the intake of yogurt than cheese, milk and water, respectively. Energy intake was 11, 9 and 12 % (P < 0·02) lower after the intake of yogurt, cheese and milk, respectively, compared with water (4312 (se 226) kJ). Although there was no difference in the postprandial responses of hormones, alanine and isoleucine concentrations were higher after the intake of yogurt than cheese and milk (P < 0·05). In conclusion, all dairy snacks reduced appetite and lunch intake compared with water. Yogurt had the greatest effect on suppressing subjective appetite ratings, but did not affect subsequent food intake compared with milk or cheese.