JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Stress-induced eating in restrained eaters may not be caused by stress or restraint

Michael R Lowe, Tanja V E Kral
Appetite 2006, 46 (1): 16-21
16171898
Restrained eaters tend to increase and unrestrained eaters to decrease their food intake when stressed. This relationship, though robust, does not appear to be caused by restrained eating or by stress per se. For restraint, evidence indicates that none of the common operationalizations of restraint can account for restraint-related effects that have been examined to date. It is therefore unlikely that restraint is responsible for stress-induced eating in restrained eaters. Rather, behavioral and physiological data suggest that restrained eating may be a proxy risk factor for vulnerability to weight gain. For stress, a variety of minimally stressful perturbations (e.g. non-threatening cognitive loads) have been shown to elicit increased intake in restrained eaters. Thus, the negative affect created by manipulations used to create stress (e.g. scary movies, failure at a task) does not appear to be necessary to provoke overeating. An adequate explanation for stress-induced eating in restrained eaters remains elusive.

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