Highly energy dense foods are often synonymous with high palatability, excess intake and weight gain. However, food preferences show individual differences. Food preferences are closely related to food intake, which can impact weight change over time. We examined whether the energy density of food images rated as appetizing and unappetizing foods related to baseline BMI and change in BMI over 3-year follow-up (n = 117; 45% Male, Baseline BMI: 21.1 ± 1.9. Participants completed hedonic visual analog scales (-100 to 100) ratings of 103 food images, and reported dietary intake at baseline, and had their height and weight directly measured over 3-year follow-up. Energy density (ED) of the food depicted in each image was calculated. For each participant, food images (kcal/g) were categorized into appetizing (32 images) and unappetizing foods (32 images) based on each individual's hedonic ratings. We observed significant interaction between energy density and hedonic value driven by an inverse relation between unappetizing food energy density and BMI change (p = 0.008). Specifically, participants who rated higher energy dense foods as unappetizing showed less weight gain (β= -0.83; p = 0.00052). There was no significant relation between the energy density of appetizing foods and weight change (p = 0.67), suggesting that dislike of highly energy dense foods more strongly associates with lower weight gain than preference for low energy dense foods. Post-hoc analyses revealed that individuals with a higher preference for low energy density foods showed less weight gain over 3-years (β = - 0.007, p = 0.02). Results support the idea that individual hedonic ratings for foods varying in energy density is a determinant of weight change in adolescents and may represent an important intervention target for obesity prevention programs. Copyright © 2018. Published by Elsevier Ltd.