Fat as a risk factor for overconsumption: satiation, satiety, and patterns of eating

J Am Diet Assoc. 1997 Jul;97(7 Suppl):S63-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8223(97)00733-5.


Many people experience great difficulty in preventing energy intake from outstripping energy expenditure. Eating high-fat foods can facilitate the development of short-term positive energy balances by influencing satiation and satiety, the processes that control the size of eating episodes and the strength of postingestive appetite inhibition, respectively. An important feature of these processes is the relative potency of orosensory, postingestive (preabsorptive), and postabsorptive signals. Foods high in dietary fat have a weak effect on satiation, which leads to a form of passive overconsumption, and a disproportionately weak effect on satiety (joule-for-joule compared with protein and carbohydrate). This overconsumption (high-fat hyperphagia) is dependent upon both the high energy density and the potent sensory qualities (high palatability) of high-fat foods. A positive fat balance does not appear to generate a tendency for behavioral compensation, and there appears to be almost no autoregulatory link between fat oxidation and fat intake. The Leeds High Fat Study has found a higher frequency of obesity among high-fat than low-fat consumers, but the relationship between fat consumption and obesity is not a biologic imperative: analysis of the pathways between daily fat intakes and patterns of eating has revealed high-risk eating episodes. The physiologic responses to fat ingestion appear to be weak compared with the potent orosensory properties of high-fat foods, and such responses cannot prevent overconsumption. A first stage in a health program should be to prevent passive overconsumption.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Mass Index
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / adverse effects
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Fat Substitutes / administration & dosage
  • Fat Substitutes / pharmacology
  • Feeding Behavior / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperphagia / etiology*
  • Hyperphagia / physiopathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Satiation / physiology*
  • Satiety Response / physiology*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Fat Substitutes