Validation of prospective portion size and latency to eat as measures of reactivity to snack foods

Karolien van den Akker*, Peggy Bongers*, Imke Hanssen, Anita Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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In experimental studies that investigate reactivity to the sight and smell of highly palatable snack foods, ad libitum food intake is commonly used as a behavioural outcome measure. However, this measure has several drawbacks. The current study investigated two intake-related measures not yet validated for food cue exposure research involving common snack foods: prospective portion size and latency to eat. We aimed to validate these measures by assessing prospective portion size and eating latencies in female undergraduate students who either underwent snack food exposure or a control exposure. Furthermore, we correlated prospective portion size and latency to eat with commonly used measures of food cue reactivity, i.e., self-reported desire to eat, salivation, and ad libitum food intake. Results showed increases in prospective portion size after food cue exposure but not after control exposure. Latency to eat did not differ between the two conditions. Prospective portion size correlated positively with desire to eat and food intake, and negatively with latency to eat. Latency to eat was also negatively correlated with desire to eat and food intake. It is concluded that the current study provides initial evidence for the prospective portion size task as a valid measure of reactivity to snack foods in a Dutch female and mostly healthy weight student population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)480-486
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2017


  • Prospective portion size
  • Latency to eat
  • Cue reactivity
  • Food intake

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