Regulating the energy density of food could be used as a novel approach for successful body weight reduction in clinical practice. The aim of this study was to conduct a systemic review of the literature on the relationship between food energy density and body weight changes in obese adults to obtain solid evidence supporting this approach. The search process was based on the selection of publications in the English language listed in public databases. A meta-analysis was performed to combine individual study results. Thirteen experimental and observational studies were identified and included in the final analysis. The analyzed populations consist of 3628 individuals aged 18 to 66 years. The studies varied greatly in terms of study populations, study design and applied dietary approaches. The meta-analysis revealed a significant association between low energy density foods and body weight reduction, i.e., -0.53 kg when low energy density foods were eaten (95% CI: -0.88, -0.19). In conclusions, this study adds evidence which supports the energy density of food as a simple but effective measure to manage weight in the obese with the aim of weight reduction.
Keywords: adults; body weight; energy intake; obesity.