Research Article| Volume 54, ISSUE 4, P311-319, April 2022

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Calorie Compensation and Self-Regulation of Food Intake in College Students



      To examine self-regulation of food intake among college students.


      Randomized cross-over study completed between September and November, 2019.


      A large public university, Florida International University in South Florida.


      A total of 60 undergraduate college students, mean age of 19.8 ± 1.43 years old, 62% female, 74% Hispanic, 76% White.


      Participants attended 2 trials 1 week apart. During each visit, students were offered a preload drink (either 0 or 210 kcal) followed by a buffet-style lunch. Food intake was estimated using weights and pictures of the plates before and after eating and was compared between the 2 sessions.

      Main Outcome Measure(s)

      Self-regulation by calculating compensation indices (COMPX) and their correlation with students’ body mass index (BMI).


      Intake differences were examined using Welch and t tests. Regression analysis was used to assess correlations.


      Students exhibited the ability to calorie compensate when intake is manipulated with a mean COMPX of 95.57 ± 71.19. No score was perfect. There was a significant correlation between BMI and COMPX scores (F = 10.71, P < 0.001, r2 = 0.292). Food choices differed between different BMI categories.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Participants showed some degree of self-regulation, which suggests opportunities for creating effective interventions to improve health status and promote a more sustainable method to control consumption among college students.

      Key Words

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