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Penn State researcher says energy density should be listed on nutrition facts label

San Diego, Calif. -- Energy density -- the number of calories per ounce -- should be listed on packaged food Nutrition Facts labels, says a Penn State researcher.

Dr. Barbara Rolls, who holds Penn State's Guthrie Chair of Nutrition in the College of Health and Human Development, says, "When you make even small changes in the energy density of a food, by adding vegetables or fruit or by reducing fat content, it can have a big effect on intake."

Rolls is one of three researchers scheduled to speak at a Hot Topic Minisymposium, Energy Density- A New Approach to Foods? Sunday, April 16, at the Experimental Biology conference in San Diego, California. She is co-author of the new best-selling weight management book, "Volumetrics: Feel Full on Fewer Calories" which takes the position, based on her research, that people can enjoy their favorite foods, feel full after meals and still lose weight.

The basic strategy of "Volumetrics" -- eat a satisfying volume of food while controlling calories and meeting nutrient requirements -- is based on a series of studies conducted by Rolls in Penn State's Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior over the last seven years.

These studies show that eating your usual amount but selecting low-energy density foods, which have fewer calories per ounce, offers a way to cut back on calories and still leave the table feeling full and satisfied.

In a recent interview, Rolls noted that "We are being offered high-calorie dense, high-fat foods by restaurateurs and food manufacturers. Those foods are easy to overeat and are contributing to our current obesity epidemic."

For example, Rolls points to the grilled chicken breast sandwich offered by some fast food chains. Grilled chicken breast is a healthy choice but the default option offered with it is full fat mayonnaise, which is high in fat and calories.

Why not a food bar where customers could bulk up their chicken breast sandwich with veggies and smea
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Contact: Barbara Hale
bah@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
15-Apr-2000


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