Development of MacroPics: A novel food picture set to dissociate the effects of carbohydrate and fat on eating behaviors

Sophie Fromm, Emily E. Perszyk, Arsene Kanyamibwa, Kathryn M. Wall, Zach Hutelin, Jessica Trinh, Xue S. Davis, Barry G. Green, Kyle D. Flack, Alexandra DiFeliceantonio, Dana M. Small

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence suggests that fat and carbohydrate interact to potentiate the reward value of food (DiFeliceantonio et al., 2018). The primary goal of the current study was to develop a novel picture set to facilitate research into the effects of macronutrient composition on food choice and eating behavior. Toward this aim, we developed “MacroPics.” In Experiment 1, we photographed 120-kcal portions of 60 snack foods falling into one of the three macronutrient categories: (1) mostly carbohydrate, (2) mostly fat, or (3) a combination of fat and carbohydrate. Sixty-one participants rated the images for liking, familiarity, frequency of consumption, healthiness, estimated energy content (in kcal), and expected satiation. A subset of these images consisting of 36 items was then selected in an iterative process to minimize differences in ratings between the macronutrient categories while simultaneously ensuring similar within-category variability on a number of food characteristics (e.g., energy density, portion size, retail price) and visual properties (e.g., color, complexity, visual area). In Experiment 2, an independent sample of 67 participants rated the pictures of the final 36-item MacroPics. Both experiments reveal similar participant ratings across categories for item liking, familiarity, frequency, healthiness, and estimated energy content. Protein content was higher in the fat compared to the carbohydrate and combination categories, leading to higher ratings of estimated satiety and energy density for fatty foods. Item and macronutrient category characteristics of the final MacroPics set are reported.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105051
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Eating behavior
  • Food pictures
  • Ingestive behavior
  • Macronutrient
  • Processed food
  • Reinforcement


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