Eating behavior and weight management

Speaker: B. Rolls Presented at: 10th NINS - Obesity

Summary

Studies of eating behavior suggest strategies that can be used to moderate energy intake in an obesogenic environment. Properties of foods such as portion size and energy density (kcal/g) have robust effects on energy intake; large portions of energy-dense foods promote excess consumption, and this effect starts in early childhood. Studies show, however, that in both adults and children these food characteristics can be used strategically to moderate energy intake and improve diet quality. When dietary energy density is reduced by increasing intake of water-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits, people can eat satisfying portions of food while decreasing energy intake. Starting a meal with large portions of low-energy-dense vegetables or fruit can enhance satiety, and increasing the proportion of vegetables in a main course to lower energy density can control hunger and moderate energy intake. Data from several clinical trials have demonstrated that reducing dietary energy density by encouraging consumption of water-rich foods was associated with substantial weight loss even though participants ate a greater weight of food. Population-based assessments indicate that beginning in childhood there is a relationship between consuming large portions of energy-dense foods and obesity. These data suggest that the promotion of diets that are reduced in energy density should be an important component of future efforts to both prevent and treat obesity