Research shows a positive relationship between dietary energy density (ED) and body mass index (BMI), but dietary ED of weight loss maintainers is unknown. This preliminary investigation was a secondary data analysis that compared self-reported dietary ED and food group servings consumed in overweight adults (OW: BMI=27-45kg/m(2)), normal weight adults (NW: BMI=19-24.9 kg/m(2)), and weight loss maintainers (WLM: current BMI=19-24.9kg/m(2) [lost≥10% of maximum body weight and maintained loss for ≥5years]) participating in 2 studies, with data collected from July 2006 to March 2007. Three 24-h phone dietary recalls from 287 participants (OW=97, NW=85, WLM=105) assessed self-reported dietary intake. ED (kcal/g) was calculated by three methods (food+all beverages except water [F+AB], food+caloric beverages [F+CB], and food only [FO]). Differences in self-reported consumption of dietary ED, food group servings, energy, grams of food/beverages, fat, and fiber were assessed using one-way MANCOVA, adjusting for age, sex, and weekly energy expenditure from self-reported physical activity. ED, calculated by all three methods, was significantly lower in WLM than in NW or OW (FO: WLM=1.39±0.45kcal/g; NW=1.60±0.43 kcal/g; OW=1.83±0.42 kcal/g). Self-reported daily servings of vegetables and whole grains consumed were significantly higher in WLM compared to NW and OW (vegetables: WLM=4.9±3.1 servings/day; NW=3.9±2.0 servings/day; OW=3.4±1.7 servings/day; whole grains: WLM=2.2±1.8 servings/day; NW=1.4±1.2 servings/day; OW=1.3±1.3 servings/day). WLM self-reported consuming significantly less energy from fat and more fiber than the other two groups. Self-reported energy intake per day was significantly lower in WLM than OW, and WLM self-reported consuming significantly more grams of food/beverages per day than OW. These preliminary findings suggest that consuming a diet lower in ED, characterized by greater intake of vegetables and whole grains, may aid with weight loss maintenance and should be further tested in prospective randomized controlled trials.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00328744.
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