The study suggests that differences in food texture and energy density lead to observed differences in energy intake between minimally-processed and ultra-processed meals. To reach this conclusion, researchers examined the independent and combined effects of food texture and degree of processing on ad libitum* food intake. They also investigated whether differences in energy intake influenced the sense of fullness (satiety) after the meal and later food intake.
*ad libitum = the participants in studies where ad libitum food intake is allowed are left to eat as much as necessary or desired.
Details of the study
Consumption of ultra-processed foods has been linked with higher energy intakes. Food texture is known to influence eating rate and energy intake, leading to satiation. In this study, 50 healthy-weight participants consumed four ad-libitum lunch-meals consisting of “soft- minimally-processed,” “hard-minimally-processed,” “soft-ultra-processed,” and “hard-ultra-processed” components. Meals were matched for total energy served, with some variation in meal energy density
Results showed that meal texture accounted for differences in amount of food (g) consumed, whereas meal texture and the higher energy density of ultra-processed meals accounted for observed differences in energy intake (kcal). Energy intake was lowest when eating the harder-texture “minimally-processed” meals. Furthermore, the energy intake at lunch did not influence food intake later in the day. The findings suggest that texture and energy density are likely to impact energy consumed to reach satiation, rather than the post-meal feelings of satiety.
Why is this relevant to RESTRUCTURE?
The new findings are the first to provide data to support a potential mechanism for higher energy intakes observed on ultra-processed diets, and will of course be extended further during the RESTRUCTURE intervention trials.
Teo, P. S., Lim, A. J., Goh, A. T., Janani, R., Choy, J. Y. M., McCrickerd, K., & Forde, C. G. (2022). Texture-based differences in eating rate influence energy intake for minimally-processed and ultra-processed meals. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, nqac068. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqac068