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February 1, 2005 - Carbohydrate Nutrition News

Energy Density and Body Weight: Is There a Relationship?


Adam Drewnowski; Eva Almiron-Roig; Corrine Marmonier; Anne Lluch
Nutrition Reviews, November 2004;62(11):403-413

The energy density of foods and beverages is defined as the available energy per unit weight (kJ/g). Energy density of the diet is usually calculated excluding non-caloric beverages and drinking water. Because water contributes more to the weight of foods than any macronutrient, energy dense foods are not necessarily those high in sugar or fat, but those that are dry. 

Evidence linking energy density with body weight is critically evaluated in this review. Existing reports of a positive association between dietary energy density, higher energy intakes, and weight gain are based on laboratory and clinical studies. Although some cross-sectional epidemiological studies have linked dietary energy density with higher body mass index (BMI) values, the data are not consistent. At this time, there are no longitudinal cohort data linking dietary energy desnsity with higher obesity risk. 

Link to abstract