Some Interesting Nutrition Findings

Experimental Biology 2007 by Mike Roussell of talks about some of the findings presented at this years Experimental Biology conference in Washington, DC.

Of particular interest was the review of Dr. Barbara Rolls talk:

1) People given either 500 grams or 1000 grams of macaroni and cheese. The ones who received the larger portion ate 33% more calories and reported the same levels of satiety and hunger compared to the people given the smaller portion. These findings did not differ between lean and obese people.

2) 69% of chefs are responsible for the portion sizes served at their restaurant. How they determine the portion size is dictated by the following (in order of importance) — presentation, cost of food, customer expectation, calorie content.

3) Restaurants serve 3 times the recommended amount of all types of food except fruits and vegetables.

4) When people were provided all their food (in caloric excess) for 11 days, they ate 400 calories more per day than needed and consumed more of all types of foods except fruits and vegetables.

5) Drinking water with a meal won’t decrease energy intake, but if you add the water to the meal (i.e. to make a soup or stew), then you’ll consume less calories.

6) Eating a small salad before a meal leads to a decrease in total energy consumption for the entire meal.

7) How much people eat is determined by how much the food weighs not how many calories are in the food.

I found it very interesting that people will eat more if more food is made available to them but will tend to report feeling just as full as they would if they ate less. It is also unusual that soup or salad before a meal lowers over all calorie consumption but water alone does not – I wonder if it has something to do with flavor?

I didn’t find it surprising that people will tend to NOT over eat fruits and vegetables. I don’t believe that these foods serve a survival function, at least not from an evolutionary point of view. They do improve the quality of life but animal flesh and sugar rule the day when dealing with energy storage. The antioxidant qualities of green leafy vegetables are of no significance to a creature that is about to enter the food scarcity phase that winter tends to facilitate.