Variations in food density affect calorie consumption

May 23, 2001

The current epidemic of obesity in the United States has encouraged the development of new weight loss strategies. The amount of calories that a person eats is affected not only by the amount of fat contained in a meal, but also by its energy density, which is based on the amount of water, air, and fruits and vegetables incorporated into it. In a study of 19 lean and 17 obese women published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Bell and Rolls manipulated both the fat content and the energy density of various foods by adding water and low-fiber fruits and vegetables. Both groups consumed 20% fewer calories on days when they were fed low-density meals, independent of the fat content of the food. No differences were noted between lean and obese subjects. An accompanying editorial by Levine highlights the relevance of the study because most of the meals offered were representative of the fat content and energy density found in the typical American diet. The study suggests that self-selection of high density foods increases daily caloric intake and thus contributes to weight gain in obese individuals.
-end-
Bell, Elizabeth A. and Barbara J. Rolls. Energy density of foods affects energy intake across multiple levels of fat content in lean and obese women. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:1010-8.

Levine, Allen S. Energy density of foods: building a case for food intake management. Am J Clin Nutr 2001;73:999-1000.

This media release is provided by The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, to provide current information on nutrition-related research. This information should not be construed as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, consult your doctor. To see the complete text of this article, please go to:

http://faseb.org/ajcn.June/12311-Rolls.pdf or http://faseb.org/ajcn.June/12727-Levine.pdf

For more information, please contact: bjr4@psu.edu or ALLENL@umn.edu

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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