Food intake and meal patterns of weight-stable and weight-gaining persons

Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Jul;76(1):107-12. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76.1.107.


Background: Weight gain is a result of changes in the regulation of short-term meal-to-meal intake. An investigation of the short-term intake and activity levels of weight-gaining persons may provide insight into the nature of the cues signaling weight gain.

Objective: The basic hypothesis was that the investigation of energy balance during periods of dynamic weight gain should provide clues to the regulatory differences that result in obesity.

Design: The eating behavior and activity levels of 19 weight-gaining men and women and of weight-stable, matched control subjects were compared with the use of 7-d diet diaries. Participants recorded their activity levels, everything that they ate or drank, and the environmental and psychological factors surrounding each eating episode for 7 consecutive days.

Results: The weight-gaining group ingested 1645 kJ/d more than did the weight-stable group because of a greater consumption of carbohydrate and fat and larger meal sizes.

Conclusion: The greater food intake in the weight-gaining group did not result from environmental, social, or psychological factors, suggesting that the overeating associated with weight gain might be physiologically based.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Basal Metabolism
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Eating* / psychology
  • Energy Intake
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Weight Gain*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats