A delicious fly in the soup. The relationship between disgust, obesity, and restraint

K. Houben*, R.C. Havermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Disgust is a core emotion that serves to protect one from engaging in activities that promote contamination and contracting disease. Since disgust is intimately connected to ingesting food, disgust sensitivity is probably also associated with dietary habits. The aim of the present study was to examine the relationship between obesity and disgust and between restraint and disgust. Participants (n = 135, all female) were recruited and tested via the Internet. They indicated their desire to eat high-calorie foods and filled Out several questionnaires assessing restrained eating and disgust sensitivity. We hypothesized that more restrained eaters would show increased disgust and that women with a higher BMI would show decreased disgust, which is what we found; that is, more restrained eaters showed increased core disgust and contamination disgust, whereas women with a higher BMI showed decreased core disgust and contamination disgust. Hence, feeling disgusted by food may be a strategy to uphold restraint, whereas relatively decreased disgust could encourage overeating. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-830
Number of pages4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


  • Obesity
  • Dietary restraint
  • Disgust
  • Food
  • FEAR

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