HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Thursday, August 18, 2022

A New Method for Calculating Energy Content and Determining Appropriate Energy Levels in Foods

Abed Forouzesh (University of Tehran), Fatemeh Forouzesh (Islamic Azad University), Sadegh Samadi Foroushani (University of Tehran), Abolfazl Forouzesh (Islamic Azad University), A New Method for Calculating Energy Content and Determining Appropriate Energy Levels in Foods, SSRN (2022):

Calculating the energy content per 100 g or 100 mL, 50 g, or the reference amount customarily consumed (RACC) shows the energy content of some foods inappropriately. So, making some food choices based on them to limit energy intake may increase the risks of some chronic diseases. Calculating the energy content and determining appropriate energy levels (to limit energy intake) based on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC), and the proposed method were performed in 8,596 food items. Making some food choices based on the FDA per serving (the serving is derived from the RACC, 100 g, or 50 g) to limit energy intake exceeded energy needs, which could lead to overweight or obesity. Some foods that did not exceed energy needs were not appropriate food choices based on the CAC per 100 g or 100 mL or FDA per serving to limit energy intake. Some foods were free of, but not low in, energy, based on the FDA per serving. Making food choices based on the proposed method to limit energy intake did not exceed energy needs. Also, foods that did not exceed energy needs were appropriate food choices based on the proposed method to limit energy intake. Vegetables and vegetable products, soups, sauces, and gravies, fruits and fruit juices, beverages, and finfish and shellfish products had the lowest averages of energy density. Fats and oils, nut and seed products, snacks, baked products, breakfast cereals, and sweets had the highest averages of energy density. On the basis of the proposed method, the averages (%) of energy free and low energy foods in food groups were 1.76% and 22.54%, respectively. Vegetables and vegetable products (4.13% and 81.65%), spices and herbs (10.77% and 81.54%), soups, sauces, and gravies (4.6% and 60.61%), fruits and fruit juices (1.95% and 51.25%), and beverages (19.73% and 45.68%) had the highest averages (%) of energy free and low energy foods. In general, the energy free and low energy claims were not met in foods containing large amounts of carbohydrate, protein, fat or oil, or alcohol. Foods containing appropriate energy levels were not found or were very few in 11 food groups (meals, entrees, and side dishes; breakfast cereals; poultry products; beef products; restaurant foods; baked products; lamb, veal, and game products; snacks; fast foods; pork products; cereal grains and pasta). The highest amounts of energy were found in pork leaf fat, beef suet, pork back fat, caribou bone marrow, cured salt pork, lamb subcutaneous fat, cheese quesadilla, beef subcutaneous fat, beef separable fat, lamb separable fat, pork jowl, lamb intermuscular fat, beef external fat, veal separable fat, pork separable fat, chicken separable fat, beef seam fat, beef intermuscular fat, sausage sandwich, pork belly, coconut milk, cheeseburger, chicken sandwich, hamburger, fish sandwich, lamb external fat, cheese enchilada, pilaf made from grains, pecan pie, skin and subcutaneous fat of bowhead whale, hot dog, lamb seam fat, club sandwich, veal seam fat, chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, chicken skin, toaster pastries, ham sandwich, yellow cake with chocolate frosting, guava pastries, breaded fried chicken, beef empanadas, lingcod liver, pepperoni pizza, fried mozzarella, chicken fingers or strips, veal external fat, onion rings, meat- or cheese-filled turnover, chicken nuggets, chocolate mousse, chocolate-covered ice cream cone with nuts, sausage pizza, breaded fried shrimp, turkey skin, taco with beef and cheese, beef small end rib steak/roast (marble score 9), white cake with coconut frosting, duck meat and skin, chocolate cream pie, bacon and cheese sandwich, nachos with beef and cheese, cheese pizza, fried green plantains, bacon and egg sandwich, beef top loin steak/roast (marble score 9), beef short ribs (lean and fat), pulled pork, burrito, pork tail, pork carcass (lean and fat), General Tso's chicken, quesadilla with chicken, chicken parmigiana, ice cream with chocolate sauce and caramel pieces, baked apple pie, and cheesecake.

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