No effect of focused attention whilst eating on later snack food intake: two laboratory experiments

Victoria Whitelock*, Suzanne Higgs, Jeffrey M. Brunstrom, Jason C.G. Halford, Eric Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

7 Citations (Scopus)
240 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Focusing attention on food during a meal has been shown to reduce later snack consumption. We report the results of two studies that aimed to replicate this effect and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms. We hypothesised that focused attention during a lunchtime meal would improve visual memory and/or memory for the satiating effects of the meal, and that this would reduce later food intake. In Study 1, participants (N = 108, 52.8% female, BMI M = 25.75 kg/m2) were randomly allocated to eat a fixed lunchtime meal while listening to instructions that encouraged them to pay attention to the sensory properties of the meal (focused attention condition), or to one of two control conditions. To determine whether the effect of focused attention on later food intake is influenced by meal satisfaction, in a second study, participants (N = 147, 100% female, BMI M = 25.15 kg/m2) were given either a satisfying or dissatisfying lunch. In both studies, after 3 h participants ate snack food ad libitum and completed assessments of their memory for the recent lunch. In both studies there was no effect of focused attention on later food intake. In Study 2, the effect of focused attention on later food intake was not moderated by meal satisfaction. In both studies focused attention did not improve memory for the lunch meal. The present studies failed to replicate the effect of focused attention on later food intake and this may be because focused attention did not improve memory for the lunchtime meal. Further research should examine the conditions under which attention during eating influences memory encoding and food intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-196
Number of pages9
JournalAppetite
Volume128
Early online date2 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Structured keywords

  • Brain and Behaviour
  • Nutrition and Behaviour
  • Physical and Mental Health

Keywords

  • Attentive eating
  • Episodic memory
  • Focused attention
  • Food intake
  • Mindfulness

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    NIHR BRC Nutrition

    Ness, A. R.

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