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Caloric Estimation Bias of Realistic Meal and Beverage Preparations

Holmstrup, Michael E. MS; Stearns-Bruening, Kay PhD, RD; Fairchild, Timothy J. PhD

doi: 10.1097/01.TIN.0000333556.20701.a9

This study was undertaken to characterize caloric estimation bias in realistic meal and beverage preparations of varied size and nutritional value. Differences in the estimation bias of meals and beverages were determined in relation to sex and weight status (body mass index and percent body fat). In general, most subjects were inaccurate in caloric estimation. Subjects were more accurate when estimating larger versus smaller, and unhealthy versus healthy realistic, home-style food items. Accurate prediction of solid foods was not related to accurate beverage prediction. In addition to the size of food items, the healthfulness and form of calories are predictors of caloric estimation accuracy.

Departments of Exercise Science (Drs Holmstrup and Fairchild) and Nutrition and Hospitality Management (Dr Stearns-Bruening), Syracuse University, New York.

Corresponding Author: Timothy J. Fairchild, PhD, Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, 820 Comstock Ave, Room 201, Syracuse, NY 13244 (

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.