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Attentive Eating Influences Food Intake

This take on weight loss and maintenance may eliminate need for conscious calorie counting

MONDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- Being more aware while eating may lower food consumption, according to a study published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eric Robinson, Ph.D., from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, and colleagues reviewed the literature for studies that experimentally examined the effect that manipulating memory, distraction, awareness, or attention has on food intake.

The researchers found that, based on 24 studies, eating when distracted produced a moderate increase in immediate intake (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.39) and increased later intake to an even greater extent (SMD, 0.76; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.45 to 1.07). The immediate intake effect appeared to be independent of dietary restraint. There was a reduction in later intake with enhancing memory of food consumed (SMD, 0.40), but this effect may depend on the participants' tendencies toward disinhibited eating. Immediate intake increased when removing visual information about the amount of food eaten during a meal (SMD, 0.48). But, there may not be an immediate effect on intake by enhancing awareness of food being eaten (SMD, 0.09; 95 percent CI, −0.42 to 0.35).

"Evidence indicates that attentive eating is likely to influence food intake, and incorporation of attentive-eating principles into interventions provides a novel approach to aid weight loss and maintenance without the need for conscious calorie counting," the authors write.

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