Dietary variety and its effect on food intake of elderly adults
Older people frequently have poor food intake. This present study investigated the effect of dietary variety on food intake in younger and older people. Methods
Eighteen young adults (mean age = 26 years) and 18 older adults (mean age = 70 years) consumed four consecutive courses of sandwiches on two occasions. In the plain treatment, each course of sandwiches was of the same type, while in the variety treatment four courses, each of a different type of sandwich, were served. Each time the participants were presented with a serving of sandwiches and asked to eat as much as they liked. Results
In the plain condition, the older adult group consumed more than their young counterparts. This situation was reversed for the variety condition when the young group ate more than the older adults. Interestingly, the older adult group ate more when a variety of sandwiches was presented. This may be contrary to what is predicted by the sensory-specific satiety model of eating behaviour. Conclusions
This study suggests that presenting the older people with a varied meal may be a valid strategy to improve food intake in this group.