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Proc Nutr Soc. 1999 Nov;58(4):755-63.

What are the major correlates of macronutrient selection in Western populations?

Author information

  • Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, Atlanta 30303-3083, USA. jdecastr@gsu.edu


In order to better understand the factors that may influence and regulate the intake of the macronutrients carbohydrate, fat and protein a 7 d diet diary technique was employed to study eating behaviour in the natural environment of free-living human subjects. In general, factors that promote energy intake tend to promote fat and protein intake to a greater extent than carbohydrate intake. This increased intake occurs as the result of: environmental factors such as social facilitation and the time of day, week or lunar phase; subjective factors such as hunger and elation; individual difference factors such as obesity, restraint and ageing. There are indications that the intake of macronutrients is regulated by negative feedback systems. In the short term, the amount of protein remaining in the stomach at the onset of a meal appears to have a restraining effect on intake, especially protein intake. Over several days, macronutrient intake appears to be affected by a nutrient-specific delayed negative feedback. Protein intake during 1 d is negatively associated with protein intake 2 and 3 d later, while carbohydrate intake is negatively related to later carbohydrate intake, and fat intake to later fat intake; both peaking after a 2 d delay. Studies of the intakes of twins suggested that many aspects of the control of macronutrient intake are influenced by inheritance; these factors include the overall amounts ingested, the before-meal stomach contents and the responsiveness of the subject to the negative impact of the stomach contents. The results indicate that macronutrient intakes are regulated by multiple persistent processes that are to a large extent inherited.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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