Energy Density and Energy Intake

January 13/Biotech Law Weekly -- Data detailed in "Contribution of energy density and food quantity to short-term fluctuations of energy intake in normal weight and obese subjects" have been presented. "In normal weight subjects, it is known that day-to-day energy intake (EI) can vary substantially while this question has not been examined in obese subjects. From acute feeding experiments, one would assume that these perturbations are mainly due to differences in food energy density (ED)," scientists in Munich, Germany, report.

"However, food quantity (FQ) during single meals, number of meals, cognitive and sensory mechanisms may also contribute to the modification of EI. To obtain more detailed information about day-to-day variations of food intake, food diaries recorded during 10 consecutive days of 280 obese and 100 normal weight subjects were examined. The chronological analysis shows a fairly constant pattern for EI, FQ and ED in both groups. The group analysis, however, masks individual fluctuations since the coefficients of variation were between 20 and 24% for the three parameters, respectively. This corresponds to a range of 1,200kcal. Some 65% can be accounted for changes in FQ, and 35% as the result of variations in ED. Snacks between main meals account for 20% of daily EI but only 10% of FQ. Furthermore, snack EI is not compensated during main meals. Small day-to-day changes of EI are due to increased meal quantities while greater fluctuations are also due to higher food ED," wrote V. Schusdziarra and colleagues, Technical University of Munich.

The researchers concluded, "The present data suggest that modification of FQ by cognitive and sensory factors plays an important role in the variation of daily EI under real life conditions with no major difference between normal weight and obese subjects."

Schusdziarra and colleagues published their study in European Journal of Nutrition ("Contribution of Energy Density and Food Quantity to Short-term Fluctuations of Energy Intake in Normal Weight and Obese Subjects." European Journal of Nutrition, 2010;49(1):37-43).

For additional information, contact V. Schusdziarra, Technical University of Munich, Else-Kroner-Fresenius Center of Nutritional Medicine, Ismaninger Strasse 22, 81675, Munich, Germany.

From the January 18, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition