Evaluation of energy density and macronutrients after extremely brief time exposure

Kosuke Motoki, Toshiki Saito, Shinsuke Suzuki, Motoaki Sugiura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Many food decisions are made rapidly and without reflective processing. The ability to determine nutritional information accurately is a precursor of food decisions and is important for a healthy diet and weight management. However, little is known about the cognitive evaluation of food attributes based on visual information in relation to assessing nutritional content. We investigated the accuracy of visual encoding of nutritional information after brief and extended time exposures to food images. The following questions were addressed: (1) how accurately do people estimate energy and macronutrients after brief exposure to food images, and (2) how does estimation accuracy change with time exposure and the type of nutritional information? Participants were first asked to rate the energy density (calories) and macronutrient content (carbohydrates/fat/protein) of different sets of food images under three time conditions (97, 500 or 1000 ms) and then asked to perform the task with no time constraints. We calculated estimation accuracy by computing the correlations between estimated and actual nutritional information for each time exposure and compared estimation accuracy with respect to the type of nutritional information and the exposure time. The estimated and actual energy densities and individual macronutrient content were significantly correlated, even after a brief exposure time (97 ms). The degree of accuracy of the estimations did not differ with additional time exposure, suggesting that <100 ms was sufficient to predict the energy and macronutrients from food images. Additionally, carbohydrate estimates were less accurate than the estimates of other nutritional variables (proteins, fat and calories), regardless of the exposure time. These results revealed rapid and accurate assessment of food attributes based on visual information and the accuracy of visual encoding of nutritional information after brief and extended time exposure to food imagery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105143
JournalAppetite
Volume162
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jul 1

Keywords

  • Energy density
  • Estimation accuracy
  • Food image
  • Macronutrients
  • Rapid processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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