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The effects of mindful eating on food intake and diet

Seguias, L. (2019). The effects of mindful eating on food intake and diet. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The six research studies presented in this thesis explored the effects of a mindful eating strategy on food intake in both a laboratory setting (Studies 1-5) and a real-world setting (Study 6). In both settings, participants were asked to pay attention to the sensory properties of their food while eating. The laboratory studies (1-5), generally showed that food intake was significantly reduced a brief period after applying the strategy (i.e. 10-15 minutes later and two hours later). However, when the strategy was applied outside the laboratory, over a three-day period, results showed that the strategy did not significantly reduce intake nor influence participant dietary choices. The research studies further explored six potential mechanisms that could explain how the mindful eating strategy works to exert its effect on food intake. These mechanisms were related to (1) memory, (2) the weakening of conditioned associations, (3) increased sensory specific satiety, (4) the attempt to maximise pleasure, (5) priming of health-related goals, and (6) reduced rate of eating. Results provided some evidence that the mindful eating strategy could exert its effects by reducing the rate of eating. However, more research is needed to confirm this and establish whether reduced rate of eating partially or fully mediates the strategy’s effects. The research studies also examined a number of potential moderators including sensitivity to reward, gender, interoceptive awareness, hunger, restrained eating and sensitivity to food environment. Results showed no moderating effects, though it is possible that the studies were underpowered to detect such effects. Overall, based on findings, it is reasonably clear that the mindful eating strategy reduces food intake, but it is still not clear when and why this takes place. Future research needs to further explore underlying mechanisms of action to determine in what contexts the strategy is likely to be effective and in what contexts it may have no effect.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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