Substituting snacks with strawberries and sudokus: Does restraint matter?

J.C.A.H. Giesen*, R.C. Havermans, A.T.M. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Objective: Prior research demonstrates that fruit/vegetables and sedentary activities can serve as substitutes for high-calorie snack foods, when the behavioral costs for obtaining snack food increase. The current study investigated if fruit/vegetables are better substitutes for snacks than sedentary activities are and whether individual differences in dietary restraint play a role in how snacks are being substituted. Design: Participants (n = 59) performed a concurrent schedules task, in which fruit/vegetables, sedentary activities, and snacks were simultaneously available. The response requirement for earning snacks increased per trial. Afterward, dietary restraint was measured. Main Outcome Measures: The amount of responses for snacks per trial and the amount of points earned for fruit/vegetables and sedentary activity per trial. Results: When snacks are harder to obtain, participants increased working for both fruit/vegetables and sedentary activities. No differences were found for dietary restraint in the way snacks were substituted. However, high-restrained participants worked harder for snack foods than low-restrained participants. Conclusion: Fruit/vegetables and sedentary activities are both equally viable substitutes for high-calorie snacks. High-calorie snacks have a higher reinforcing value for highly restrained eaters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)222-226
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010


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