Cue reactivity and regulation of food intake.

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A robust finding in eating research is the so-called counterregulation in restrained eaters. This means that while normal subjects eat less during a taste test, after they consumed a preload, restrained eaters consume more. An explanation is that food exposure causes stronger physiological preparatory reactivity in the restrained eaters. This reactivity is experienced as craving and leads to an increased food intake. To test this theory, 46 high and low restrained eaters were exposed to food or soap, while physiological measurements were made. Afterwards, the subjects performed a taste test, during which food intake was secretly measured. Unrestrained eaters showed an increase in heart rate, gastric activity, and saliva during food exposure; however, restrained eaters did not. Gastric activity significantly correlated with food intake. Group or exposure type did not influence food intake. It can be concluded that unrestrained eaters prepared for food intake, whereas the restrained eaters did not. A possible explanation is that restrained eaters used cognitive suppression to block physiological responding, thereby controlling their food intake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-72
JournalEating Behaviors
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002


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