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Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Mar;67(3):412-20.

Energy density of foods affects energy intake in normal-weight women.

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Nutrition Department, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA.


This study examined the effect of energy density, independent of fat content and palatability, on food and energy intakes. With use of a within-subjects design, normal-weight women (n = 18) were provided with meals for 2 d during each of three test sessions. During lunch, dinner, and an evening snack, subjects were given free access to a main entree varying in energy density (low, medium, or high). The manipulated main entrees were similar in palatability to their counterparts across conditions. Low-energy compulsory (consumption required) side dishes accompanied each meal. Subjects also consumed a standard, compulsory breakfast. Results showed that subjects consumed a similar amount of food (by weight) across the three conditions of energy density. Thus, significantly more energy was consumed in the condition of high energy density (7532 +/- 363 kJ, or 1800 +/- 86 kcal) than in the medium- (6356 +/- 281 kJ, or 1519 +/- 67 kcal) and low- (5756 +/- 178 kJ, or 1376 +/- 43 kcal) energy-density conditions (P < 0.0001). There were no differences in hunger or fullness before meals, after meals, or over the 2 d across conditions. The results from this study indicate that energy density affects energy intake independent of macronutrient content or palatability, suggesting that the overconsumption of high-fat foods may be due to their high energy density rather than to their fat content.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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