Dietary energy density and weight regulation

Nutr Rev. 2001 Aug;59(8 Pt 1):247-58. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-4887.2001.tb05509.x.


Dietary energy density (ED) has been suggested as an important determinant of energy intake and, therefore, energy regulation. This review summarizes published studies on the effects of dietary ED on hunger, satiety, energy intake, and body weight in healthy individuals, and compares the relative effects of ED manipulated by dietary fat only, fat and fiber, water, and type of sweetener. In short-term studies, consumption of low-ED foods promotes satiety, reduces hunger, and decreases energy intake with no marked differences between different dietary manipulations used to change ED. In addition, low-ED diets promote moderate weight loss in long-term studies. In studies lasting longer than 6 months, weight loss was more than three times as great in individuals consuming diets both low in fat and high in fiber compared with diets only low in fat (-3.4 kg versus -1.0 kg). Combined, these studies suggest that diets low in fat and high in fiber may be the most effective low-ED diets for promoting weight loss. Further research is needed on the effects of dietary ED by changing water or sweetener content.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake / physiology*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology
  • Satiation / physiology
  • Water


  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Water