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Appetite. 2013 Jul;66:75-83. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.03.004. Epub 2013 Mar 19.

Comparison of three methods to reduce energy density. Effects on daily energy intake.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Reductions in food energy density can decrease energy intake, but it is not known if the effects depend on the way that energy density is reduced. We investigated whether three methods of reducing energy density (decreasing fat, increasing fruit and vegetables, and adding water) differed in their effects on energy intake across the day. In a crossover design, 59 adults ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the laboratory once a week for 4 weeks. Across conditions, the entrées were either standard in energy density or were reduced in energy density by 20% using one of the three methods. Each meal included a manipulated entrée along with unmanipulated side dishes, and all foods were consumed ad libitum. Reducing the energy density of entrées significantly decreased daily energy intake compared to standard entrées (mean intake 2667 ± 77 kcal/day; 11,166 ± 322 kJ/day). The mean decrease was 396 ± 44 kcal/day (1658 ± 184 kJ/day) when fat was reduced, 308 ± 41 kcal/day (1290 ± 172 kJ/day) when fruit and vegetables were increased, and 230 ± 35 kcal/day (963 ± 147 kJ/day) when water was added. Daily energy intake was lower when fat was decreased compared to the other methods. These findings indicate that a variety of diet compositions can be recommended to reduce overall dietary energy density in order to moderate energy intake.

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