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The effect of a mindfulness-based body scan exercise on food intake during TV watching

Ahmadyar, K. ORCID: 0000-0001-6993-1469, Robinson, E. & Tapper, K. ORCID: 0000-0001-9097-6311 (2024). The effect of a mindfulness-based body scan exercise on food intake during TV watching. Appetite, 192, article number 107131. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2023.107131


In some studies mindfulness is associated with reduced food consumption, but the underlying mechanisms are less well researched. One potential mechanism is that mindfulness increases attention toward feelings of fullness. Additionally, experimental research on mindfulness and food intake has primarily been conducted in constrained laboratory settings, where it may be easier for participants to notice their internal bodily signals, as opposed to the real-world where individuals are often engaged in other activities while eating. The effect of mindfulness on food intake while participants are distracted remains unexplored. This study therefore aimed to examine whether a mindfulness-based body scan exercise reduced food consumption within a distracted environment by increasing attention toward feelings of fullness. Participants (n = 137) listened to a 10-minute body scan meditation, or a 10-minute visualisation (control) meditation. They were then given a bowl of crisps to consume while watching a 10-minute TV show segment. Participants also completed measures assessing proposed mediators, including state mindfulness, attention to bodily sensations and eating automaticity. The body scan manipulation increased state mindfulness but had no direct effect on the other mediators or on food intake (intervention M = 34.79g, SD = 24.06; control M = 33.16g, SD = 23.88). State mindfulness was positively correlated with attention to bodily sensations while eating. Lower eating automaticity and greater reliance on decreased food appeal and physical satisfaction to stop eating were found to be associated with lower food intake. Contrary to previous studies, we found no evidence that a mindfulness body scan reduces food consumption when participants are distracted. Future research should examine the specific conditions under and mechanisms by which mindfulness may influence food consumption.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons CC-BY license, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher Keywords: mindfulness; mindful eating; body scan; food intake; food consumption; distraction
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
SWORD Depositor:
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