A novel tool to predict food intake: the Visual Meal Creator

Adrian Holliday, Chris Batey, Frank F Eves, Andrew K Blannin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Subjective appetite is commonly measured using an abstract visual analogue scale (VAS) technique, that provides no direct information about desired portion size or food choice. The purpose of this investigation was to develop and validate a user-friendly tool - the Visual Meal Creator (VIMEC) - that would allow for independent, repeated measures of subjective appetite and provide a prediction of food intake. Twelve participants experienced dietary control over a 5-hour period to manipulate hunger state on three occasions (small breakfast (SB) vs. large breakfast (LB) vs. large breakfast + snacks (LB+S)). Appetite measures were obtained every 60 minutes using the VIMEC and VAS. At 4.5 hours, participants were presented with an ad libitum test meal, from which energy intake (EI) was measured. The efficacy of the VIMEC was assessed by its ability to detect expected patterns of appetite and its strength as a predictor of energy intake. Day-to-day reproducibility and test-retest repeatability were assessed. Between- and within-condition differences in VAS and VIMEC scores (represented as mm and kcal of the "created" meal, respectively) were significantly correlated with one another throughout. Between- and within-condition changes in appetite scores obtained with the VIMEC exhibited a stronger correlation with EI at the test meal than those obtained with VAS. Pearson correlation coefficients for within-condition comparisons were 0.951, 0.914 and 0.875 (all p < 0.001) for SB, LB and LB+S respectively. Correlation coefficients for between-condition differences in VIMEC and EI were 0.273, 0.940 (p < 0.001) and 0.525 (p < 0.05) for SB - LB+S, SB - LB and LB - LB+S respectively. The VIMEC exhibited a similar degree of reproducibility to VAS. These findings suggest that the VIMEC appears to be a stronger predictor of energy intake than VAS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-75
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Adult
  • Appetite
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals
  • Portion Size
  • Psychometrics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Visual Analog Scale
  • Young Adult


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