Estimation of food intake: Effects of the unit of estimation

  • Drew A. Anderson
  • D. A. Williamson
  • W. G. Johnson
  • C. O. Grieve
Brief Report


While many studies have shown that individuals under-estimate caloric intake few studies have examined how individuals estimate intake when using other units of mea surement (e.g. cups, ounces). Forty-one women (21 obese, 20 normal weight) ate a test mea of Häagen-Dazs® chocolate ice cream and were asked to estimate the amount they ate in both calories and cups. As expected, participants under-estimated intake when asked to esti mate how much they ate in calories, but considerably over-estimated their intake when mea sured in cups. Thus, individuals can both under- and over-estimate how much of the same food they have eaten, depending on the unit they are asked to use for estimation. Obesity and eating disorders treatment programs should take into account the tendency to over-estimate volumetric portions as well as under-estimate caloric intake.

Key words

Energy intake estimation human feeding obesity weight overweight 


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Copyright information

© Editrice Kurtis 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Drew A. Anderson
    • 1
  • D. A. Williamson
    • 2
  • W. G. Johnson
    • 3
  • C. O. Grieve
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyThe University at Albany-SUNYAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyLouisiana State UniversityBaton RougeUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorUniversity of Mississippi Medical CenterJacksonUSA

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