Postprint version. Published in Eating Behaviors, Volume 12, Issue 2, April 1, 2011, pages 119-125.
Research shows a positive relationship between dietary energy density (ED) and body mass index (BMI), but dietary ED of weight loss maintainers is unknown. This preliminary investigation was a secondary data analysis that compared self-reported dietary ED and food group servings consumed in overweight adults (OW: BMI=27–45 kg/m2), normal weight adults (NW: BMI=19–24.9 kg/m2), and weight loss maintainers (WLM: current BMI=19–24.9 kg/m2 [lost≥10% of maximum body weight and maintained loss for ≥5 years]) participating in 2 studies, with data collected from July 2006 to March 2007. Three 24-h phone dietary recalls from 287 participants (OW=97, NW=85, WLM=105) assessed self-reported dietary intake. ED (kcal/g) was calculated by three methods (food+all beverages except water [F+AB], food+caloric beverages [F+CB], and food only [FO]). Differences in self-reported consumption of dietary ED, food group servings, energy, grams of food/beverages, fat, and fiber were assessed using one-way MANCOVA, adjusting for age, sex, and weekly energy expenditure from self-reported physical activity. ED, calculated by all three methods, was significantly lower in WLM than in NW or OW (FO: WLM=1.39±0.45 kcal/g; NW=1.60± 0.43 kcal/g; OW=1.83±0.42 kcal/g). Self-reported daily servings of vegetables and whole grains consumed were significantly higher in WLM compared to NW and OW (vegetables: WLM=4.9±3.1 servings/day; NW=3.9±2.0 servings/day; OW=3.4±1.7 servings/day; whole grains: WLM=2.2±1.8 servings/day; NW=1.4±1.2 servings/day; OW=1.3±1.3 servings/day). WLM self-reported consuming significantly less energy from fat and more fiber than the other two groups. Self-reported energy intake per day was significantly lower in WLM than OW, and WLM self-reported consuming significantly more grams of food/ beverages per day than OW. These preliminary findings suggest that consuming a diet lower in ED, characterized by greater intake of vegetables and whole grains, may aid with weight loss maintenance and should be further tested in prospective randomized controlled trials.