Al dente or well done? How the eating rate of a pasta dish can be predicted by the eating rate of its components

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Eating rate (ER) is now recognised as an important driver of food and energy intake, and is strongly influenced by a food's texture. However, little is known about how the textures of multiple food components combined affect the ER of a composite dish. In a full cross-over study, 54 healthy participants (age: 25 ± 7 years, BMI: 22 ± 3 kg/m2) consumed 12 different pasta dishes. The dishes comprised single penne or carrot (hard and soft; 4 samples), single penne or carrot (hard and soft) with tomato sauce (4 samples), and combined penne (hard and soft) with carrots (hard and soft) and tomato sauce (4 samples). Behavioural coding analysis was used to quantify participant ER and oral processing behaviours for each dish. Soft penne was consumed 42% faster than hard penne (P < 0.001) and soft carrots were consumed 94% faster than hard carrots(P < 0.001) when presented as single foods without sauce. The addition of sauce increased ER for both penne and carrots by approximately 30% (both P < 0.001). For the composite dishes, the ER of the dish with soft carrot, soft penne and sauce was consumed 45% faster than the same dish with hard components (P < 0.001). The ER of the composite dishes could be predicted from the ER of its single components. The ER of individual components cumulatively determined the ER of the composite dish, rather than ER being driven only by the slowest dish component. These insights provide guidance on how to compose texture modified meals that moderate both ER and energy intake.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104883
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - May 2023


  • Dish
  • Eating rate
  • Food texture
  • Hardness
  • Meal
  • Oral processing behaviour


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