Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Consequences of food energy excess and positive energy balance

Ricardo Uauya1 c1 and Erik Díaza1

a1 Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Macul 5540, Santiago, Chile


This paper discusses possible consequences of energy excess throughout the life cycle. Firstly we consider the effects of foods on hunger, satiety and satiation. Also, the changes in food availability and consumption in relation to changes in social and economic determinants of energy excess. The relationship between physical activity and energy intake (EI) is also considered. Secondly we explore the definition of energy excess and the metabolic effects of macronutrients (mainly in relation to fuel partitioning oxidation/storage) on energy balance. The cellular and molecular regulation determined by specific genes involved in lipogenesis, fuel partitioning and/or in energy dissipation are explored. Thirdly, we examine the main consequences induced by energy excess and positive energy balance, starting with the alterations in glucose utilisation (insulin resistance) leading to type 2 diabetes and the linkage of energy excess with other non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Biological, social and psychological consequences during perinatal, childhood and adolescence periods are specifically analysed. Fourthly, the transition from energy deficit to excess, under the optic of a developing country is analysed with country examples drawn from Latin America. The possible role of supplementary food programmes in determining positive energy balance is discussed especially in relation to pre-school and school feeding programmes. Fifthly, we deal with the economic costs of energy excess and obesity related diseases. Finally, some areas where further research is needed are described; biological and genetic determinants of individual and population energy requirements, foods and food preparations as actually consumed, consumer education and research needs on social determinants of energy imbalances.


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