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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2004 Nov;58(11):1485-91.

Energy density of foods and beverages in the Australian food supply: influence of macronutrients and comparison to dietary intake.

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  • 1Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Burwood, Victoria, Australia. tcrowe@deakin.edu.au



The energy density (ED) of the diet is considered an important determinant of total energy intake and thus energy balance and weight change. We aimed to compare relationships between ED and macronutrient content in individual food and beverage items as well as population diet in a typical Western country.


Nutrient data for 3673 food items and 247 beverage items came from the Australian Food and Nutrient database (AusNut). Food and beverage intake data came from the 1995 Australian National Nutrition Survey (a 24-h dietary recall survey in 13 858 people over the age of 2). Relationships between ED and macronutrient and water content were analysed by linear regression with 95% prediction bands.


For both individual food items and population food intake, there was a positive relationship between ED and percent energy as fat and negative relationships between ED and percent energy as carbohydrate and percent water by weight. In all cases, there was close agreement between the slopes of the regression lines between food items and dietary intake. There were no clear relationships between ED and macronutrient content for beverage items. Carbohydrate (mostly sucrose) contributed 91, 47, and 25% of total energy for sugar-based, fat-based, and alcohol-based beverages respectively.


The relationship between ED and fat content of foods holds true across both population diets and individual food items available in the food supply in a typical Western country such as Australia. As high-fat diets are associated with a high BMI, population measures with an overall aim of reducing the ED of diets may be effective in mediating the growing problem of overweight and obesity.

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