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Physiol Behav. 2005 Sep 15;86(1-2):32-45.

Stomach filling may mediate the influence of dietary energy density on the food intake of free-living humans.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Texas at El Paso, 79968, USA.


The energy density of the diet has been demonstrated to be a significant influence on the daily intakes of humans which has led to the hypothesis that intake control is based upon the weight and volume of food and not its energy content. The study explored the roles of the components used in the calculation of energy density and stomach filling in dietary energy density effects upon intake. Dietary energy density relationships with intake and body size were studied in 264 male and 406 female free-living adult humans who provided a detailed record of their eating and drinking in 7-day diaries. High energy density was associated with larger amounts of food energy and larger amounts of solids, but lower total weight of meals, daily intakes, and weekly intakes. The lower total weight occurred due to lower fluid intake in drinks. Multiple regression analysis revealed that overall dietary energy density was more important than the energy density of particular nutrients. Intake of fluids in drinks did not contribute to the relationship of dietary energy density with intake. The estimated weight of the contents of the stomach following the meals was relatively constant regardless of the energy density of the meals, daily, or weekly intakes. Energy density was not significantly related with body size, height, weight, or BMI. The findings support the notion that short-term intake is controlled on the basis of its weight and volume as opposed to its food energy content.

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