The role of macronutrient selection in determining patterns of food intake in obese and non-obese women

Eur J Clin Nutr. 1996 Sep;50(9):580-91.


Objective: Examination of the role of macronutrient selection in determining patterns of food intake in obese and non-obese women.

Design: Inventory: food intake diaries of two weekdays and one weekend day; EXPERIMENT randomized.

Setting: Inventory: in daily life.

Experiment: department of Human Biology, University of Limburg.

Subjects: 68 subjects: 34 obese and 34 non-obese, age 20-50 years, selected based on accurate completion of food intake diaries (< 10% underreporting); a sub-sample of 32 (16 obese and 16 non-obese) was assigned to the experiment.

Interventions: An ample choice of food items consisting of mainly one macronutrient each were offered 4 and 6 times per day, with different macronutrient compositions per day, ranging from 1-77 en% fat, 3-45 en% protein, and 19-96 en% carbohydrate.

Results: Selection, namely food choice that differs from random consumption, took place at breakfast in favour of carbohydrate, and at dinner in favour of fat. Habituation, namely a decreased response on the same stimulus, occurred after the fourth exposure to a single macronutrient buffet. For protein this was expressed as a significantly increased satiety score per kJ ingested; for fat as a significant drop in hedonic value; for carbohydrate as a significantly increased desire for a different taste, all (P < 0.05). Compensation, i.e. a correction afterwards for an earlier unusual macronutrient composition, resulting in a close to usual macronutrient composition of 24 h food intake, occurred at dinner, for a previous unusually low fat and high carbohydrate intake.

Conclusions: A pattern of macronutrient intake was achieved by selection and compensation. Habituation occurred at the fourth exposure of a single macronutrient.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet Records
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Food Preferences*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity*
  • Random Allocation