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Invited Commentary |

Are the Hungry More at Risk for Eating Calorie-Dense Nutrient-Poor Foods?  Comment on “First Foods Most: After 18-Hour Fast, People Drawn to Starches First and Vegetables Last”

Amy L. Yaroch, PhD; Courtney A. Pinard, PhD
Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(12):963-964. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.1871.
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Consumption of calorie-dense and nutrient-poor foods (foods with little or no nutritional value such as potato chips, candy, and sugar-sweetened beverages) is a major contributor to the obesity epidemic, owing in part to changes in the American food system.1 Wansink and colleagues2 demonstrate that after individuals have fasted, they are more likely than individuals who have not fasted to consume foods that are calorie dense and nutrient poor, namely starches and proteins. Those in the fasting group consumed a significantly greater amount of calories (46.7% more), and they were less likely to consume the vegetables first. The authors highlighted the importance of the results in terms of medical patients, dieters, and others who might be fasting.2 The implications for obesity are implied, given the emphasis on calorie density and selection of food items. The authors also give recommendations specific to hospital cafeteria settings: to make more healthful choices such as vegetables and fruits visually appealing and convenient to food-deprived individuals to promote consumption of these items over less healthful foods.2

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