Energy and macronutrient intake over the course of the day of German adults: A DEDIPAC-study

Appetite. 2017 Jul 1:114:125-136. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.03.018. Epub 2017 Mar 16.


The aim of the study was to analyze the energy and macronutrient intake over the course of the day of selected population groups in Germany defined by sex, age, BMI, SES, and diet quality. The study was based on food consumption data from the German National Nutrition Survey II (2005-2007) assessed by two 4-day dietary weighing records of 662 women and men aged between 18 and 80 years. Energy and macronutrient intake were calculated using the German Nutrient Database 3.02 and summarized for the periods 'morning', 'midday', 'afternoon', 'evening', and 'night'. Generalized estimating equation models were used to examine differences in energy and macronutrient intake. For women and men, a three-main-meal pattern ('morning', 'midday', and 'evening') was observed, indicated as peaks in energy intake at 08:00 to 09:00, 13:00 and 19:00 o'clock. The distributions of carbohydrate, protein, and fat intake mirror the distribution of energy intake over the course of the day. The highest energy intake was found in the 'evening' period, especially in young adults, overweight persons, persons with a high SES, and men with a low diet quality. Women of the oldest age group showed a similar energy intake across the three-main-meals in contrast to young adults, who had lower peaks in the 'morning' and 'midday' periods as well as a shift to later meal times. Young adults seem to have a higher variability in energy intake and a less distinct meal pattern, while seniors have a more structured day. Because a high energy intake in the 'evening' period is associated with negative health-related factors, the distribution of energy intake should be considered by recommendations for a healthy nutritional behavior.

Keywords: Adults; Germany; Meal pattern; NVS II; Time of energy intake; Time of macronutrient intake.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Diet / methods*
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data
  • Energy Intake*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronutrients / administration & dosage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys / methods
  • Nutrition Surveys / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Micronutrients