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Dietary determinants of obesity

Jebb, S.A., 2007. Dietary determinants of obesity. Obesity Reviews.8 (Suppl. 1)93-97

One of the few incontrovertible facts about obesity is that weight is only gained when energy intake exceeds energy needs for a prolonged period. This is clear from studies of basic physiology under standardized conditions and controlled intervention studies involving manipulations of the components of energy balance. However, energy intake must be considered in the context of an individual’s energy needs. Obesity results not from a high absolute energy intake but from intake which exceeds energy needs, even as a small fraction of energy flux. It is thus the coupling between intake and expenditure that lies at the heart of the problem. The search for specific dietary factors that increase the risk of obesity is therefore a quest for factors that undermine the innate regulatory control of body weight. There are multiple mechanisms by which this can occur which are explored elsewhere in this series of reviews, including satiety, palatability, food availability or low-energy needs as a consequence of physical inactivity. This review will focus on the evidence for specific dietary determinants of obesity largely from observational and intervention studies.