Interrelations between food form, texture, and matrix influence energy intake and metabolic responses

Nutrition often focuses on food composition, yet differences in food form, texture, and matrix influence energy intake and metabolism. This review outlines how these food attributes impact oral processing, energy intake, and metabolism.

Details of the study

This review argues that the healthfulness of foods is not solely based on its nutritional composition but also on food form and food structure. The food form is very closely linked to how much calories are consumed and how full you feel. For example, consuming whole oranges is more satiating than consuming orange juice. The food texture or food structure within a food category determine how fast you eat a food, therefore influencing your sense of satiety. That’s why consuming hard bread instead of soft bread will make you feel full quicker. Other relevant properties are for example the thickness of yoghurts or chewiness of snacks. The food matrix (i.e., the microstructure of a food) is highly important in the ultimate absorption of nutrients. For example, in nuts, legumes and cereals, the actual calories absorbed during digestion are much fewer than the calories calculated from their composition.

Schematic illustration of the different levels of food structure (food form, texture, and matrix) and the association with energy and nutrient bio-availability. Source: Forde, C. & Bolhuis, D. Curr Nutr Rep (2022)

This is because the physical integrity of food structures and cell walls are not always digestible. In many cases food processing reduces this integrity of the food structure, which can be either favourable because more healthy nutrients are absorbed or unfavourable when for example resulting in an excess of fat uptake. In sum, a calorie is not a calorie.

Why is this relevant to RESTRUCTURE?

The RESTRUCTURE project will provide new information on how eating rate can be predicted from food texture and investigate how composite foods or meals should be designed to effectively reduce calorie intake.

Original publication

Forde, C.G., Bolhuis, D. Interrelations Between Food Form, Texture, and Matrix Influence Energy Intake and Metabolic Responses. Current Nutrition Reports (2022).