Fast food and Co: Modern nutrition favors obesity

Fast food and Co: Modern nutrition favors obesity

Focus on energy density and portion sizes

Fast food and convenience products, inexpensive XXL packs and snacking are now an integral part of the daily diet of many consumers. These have a significant impact on body weight and the risk of obesity. An article in the journal Obesity (4/2015) deals with the interrelations in detail.

The two authors - Dr. Christina Holzapfel and Professor Hans Hauner, both from the Institute of Nutritional Medicine, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Technical University of Munich, refer to data from different countries, according to which energy consumption has risen continuously in recent years. They see one reason for this in the consumption of convenience and fast food products. And, like visiting fast food restaurants, it is increasing significantly, especially among young people.

Fast food and convenience products are characterized by a high energy density (energy content in kilocalories per gram). Studies show that people who eat meals with a low energy density eat similarly large portions and are as full and satisfied as people who consume higher energy densities. In the latter case, the energy input is inevitably higher. This in turn leads to weight gain. This tendency is further exacerbated by the fact that fast food eaters consume a lot of sugary drinks, but mostly do not take them into account in the calorie budget.

As a second important trend in modern nutrition, the authors describe the growing out-of-home consumption, which is also associated with an increased energy supply. The consumption of "loose" food complicates the assessment of the portion size and the energy content. And finally, according to the third focus of the analysis, the energy supply is directly related to the portion size.

For obesity prevention and therapy, the two authors see an important multidisciplinary starting point in improving transparency when eating out and serving sizes (Eva Neumann, aid)

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