is particularly significant because it challenges the common view among researchers that people tend to consume too many high-energy foods.
This idea stems from previous studies that have manipulated the energy content of foods or meals to create low and high energy versions. In those studies, people were not told whether they were eating the low- or high-energy version, and the results showed that they tended to eat meals of the same weight, resulting in higher calorie intake with High power version.
Lead author Annika Flynn said: “For many years, we have believed that people unconsciously overeat high-energy meals.
Instead of artificially adjusting calories for foods, this study looked at data from a trial that used a normal daily meal with different energy densities, such as bread. Chicken salad with fig biscuits or porridge with blueberries and almonds. The trial involved 20 healthy adults temporarily living in a hospital ward, where they were served various meals for four weeks.
Human eating behavior
An international team of researchers, including leading experts in diet and metabolism from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States, calculated calories, grams, and energy density (calories). per gram) for each meal consumed by each participant.
The results demonstrated that meal calories increased with energy density in energy-poor meals as previous observations for artificially manipulated foods also showed. Surprisingly, however, with greater energy densities, a turning point whereby people begin to respond to increased calorie intake by reducing the portion sizes they consume. This shows a previously unrecognized level of sensitivity to the energy content of the meals people are eating.
Because this finding is based on data from a small, highly controlled trial, the researchers went on to see if this pattern persisted when the participants were free-living, choosing their own meals. me or not. Using data from the UK’s National Diet and Nutrition Survey, the researchers again found The amount of calories in a meal increases with the energy density in the meal energy-poor meals and then tapered off in high-energy meals. Crucially, for this turning point pattern to occur, participants would need to consume smaller, weight-based, more energy-dense meals.
“For example, people eat small portions of cream cheese pasta, which is an energy-dense meal, rather than a salad with a variety of vegetables that are relatively low in calories,” says Annika.
This study sheds new light on human eating behavior, especially the apparent subtle sensitivity to calories in high-energy meals.
Co-author Jeff Brunstrom, Professor of Experimental Psychology, said: “This study furthers the idea that humans are not passive overeaters, but suggest the possibility wise ability to moderate the amount of energy-rich meals they consume.
“This work is particularly exciting because it reveals a hidden complexity to the way humans interact with modern high-energy foods, what we have come to call ‘nutritional intelligence’.” What this tells us is that we don’t seem to passively acknowledge these foods and so why they are linked to obesity is more nuanced than one might think. This at least provides a fresh perspective on a long-standing problem, and it opens the door to a host of important new questions and avenues for future research.”