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Am J Clin Nutr. 1995 Jul;62(1):13-8.

Effects of dietary energy density and feeding frequency on total daily energy intakes of recovering malnourished children.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis 95616, USA.


To develop recommendations for the design of special foods for young children, we measured total daily energy consumption from semisolid food mixtures with energy densities of 1.67, 2.93, 4.18, or 6.28 kJ/g (0.4, 0.7, 1.0, or 1.5 kcal/g) and that were fed ad libitum three, four, or five times per day to 18 fully weaned children from 6 to 18 mo of age who were recovering in the hospital from malnutrition. The diets were generally indistinguishable by sensory qualities, and were fed in a randomized sequence. The mean amounts consumed ( body wt-1.d-1) were significantly less with successively greater energy density of the diet (P < 0.001). The total daily consumption was approximately 16% more when the number of meals was increased from three to four per day, with energy density controlled for (P < 0.001), and 7% more when the feeding frequency rose from four to five meals per day (P = 0.005). The total daily energy intakes ( body wt-1.d-1) increased significantly with the more concentrated diets (P < 0.001) and varied positively in relation to feeding frequency (P < 0.001). Approximately 15-20 min were required per meal for the children to reach satiety. The total amount of time required to feed the children each day was related to the number of meals served (P < 0.001) and not to energy density. Implications for child feeding are discussed.

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