(Mis)Perceptions About Healthy Eating: Effects on Food Intake and Appetite in Men and Women

2014-08-27 03:13:02 | BioPortfolio


In the face of an increased prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases in Canada, much effort has been invested to educate the population about healthy eating. Although Canadians are now aware of the importance of healthier food habits, rates of obesity and chronic diseases are still increasing. In addition, even if different labelling strategies are used to identify healthier foods in the market, consumers remain confused about what healthy eating should be. Might describing foods as healthy have unintended side-effects on food intake? Previous literature has shown that perceptions about the healthiness of foods may bias estimations of caloric content of foods, leading consumers to underestimate the caloric content of "healthy" food choices. Indeed, the investigators have recently shown that perceiving a food as healthy increased intake of that food by 35% in undergraduate female students. The general objective of the proposed research is to investigate whether food perceptions influence intake and appetite sensations in normal-weight and overweight/obese restrained and unrestrained males and females. This laboratory study, in which perceived healthiness and "fatteningness" of oatmeal-raisin cookies will be manipulated during an ad libitum single-meal occasion, will increase the investigators knowledge of the effects of external cues (and other psychological and physiological factors) on the control of food intake. Because the popularity and demand for nutrition information is increasing, such information is needed to improve clinical practices aiming at promoting sustainable healthy eating habits to help individuals achieve and maintain a healthy weight.


The laboratory study will be conducted at the Clinical Investigation Unit (CIU) of the Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods (INAF). Food-related variables (perceived healthiness and "fatteningness" of foods) will be manipulated during an ad libitum single-meal test. We will examine the effects of these variables on food intake and appetite sensations in male and female normal-weight and overweight/obese restrained and unrestrained eaters. Each participant will be tested on an individual basis, during a 2-hour experimental session (randomized sessions between 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.). Because participants might change their eating behaviors if they become aware of the true purpose of the study, deception must be used. Males and females will thus be recruited to participate in an ostensible market-research study involving a taste-rating task, and each participant will then be carefully debriefed at the end of the experiment.

Male and female normal-weight with a body mass index (BMI) ≥18.5kg/m2 and <25kg/m2 and overweight/obese with a BMI ≥25kg/m2, restrained and unrestrained eaters will be randomly assigned to one of three experimental conditions ("healthy," "diet," and "unhealthy"). A plate of about 1000 grams (g) of bite-sized oatmeal-raisin cookies will be presented to each participant. On average, one bite-size cookie is about 10g, which represents approximately 40 kilocalories (kcal) per cookie. The manipulation of healthiness and "fatteningness" perceptions of the oatmeal-raisin cookies will be performed verbally by the experimenter as follows. In the "healthy" condition, the description will emphasize nutritional characteristics (e.g., high in fibre, low in saturated fat and free from trans-fat), so the overall healthiness of the snack will be highlighted. In the "diet" condition, the description will emphasize the benefits of oatmeal fibre for weight management (e.g., helps to cope with hunger), thereby highlighting the weight-loss potential of the snack. In the "unhealthy" condition, the description will emphasize hedonic characteristics of the food and less healthy ingredients (e.g. gourmet cookies, contains butter and sugar), so some inherent unhealthy aspects of the snack will be highlighted.

Males and females involved in the study will be invited to participate in a market-research study investigating various dimensions of a new snack product. A telephone screening interview will first be conducted for all subjects interested in participating in the study to ensure that they meet our inclusion criteria, to facilitate randomization prior to the experiment session and to set the appointment with the participant. During this interview, each participant will be informed that this market-research study involves a taste-rating task in which they will taste and rate a new snack food. They will have to self-report their weight and height, and answer descriptive questions about inclusion criteria (e.g., history of health problems, current medications, liking of the tested food, and prior participation in studies). They will also have to complete the Restraint Scale to assess whether they exhibit behavioral and attitudinal concerns about dieting and weight control. Each participant will then be categorized as a restrained eater (≥12 in males and ≥15 in females) or unrestrained eater (<12 in males and <15 in females). Following the categorization established by the Restraint Scale and BMI calculation, each participant will then be randomly assigned to one of the experimental conditions, according to restraint and weight status (Note that randomization will be adjusted according to the measured BMI). The telephone screening interview will be conducted at least one week prior to the appointment at the CIU to ensure that having been asked about restraint and weight status will not affect participants' food intake and appetite sensations by making restraint and weight salient during the experiment. To standardize food intake and to insure that subjects have comparable baseline appetite sensations across experimental manipulations, participants will be asked to refrain from eating oatmeal-raisin cookies (tested food) for at least 24 hours prior to the experiment, and to arrive at the CIU for the appointment in a pre-meal state (i.e., at least 2 hours without food prior to the experiment). Because physical activity might have an impact on appetite sensations, participants will also be asked to refrain from doing any strenuous exercise at least for 24 hours before the experiment. Note that the experimenter in the study will strictly follow a detailed script when testing each participant to ensure that the testing will be consistent between all participants.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Intervention Model: Factorial Assignment, Masking: Single Blind (Subject)




Healthy, Diet, Unhealthy


Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functionnal Foods (INAF)
Québec city
G1V 0A6




Laval University

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T03:13:02-0400

Clinical Trials [1577 Associated Clinical Trials listed on BioPortfolio]

Testing a Novel Stress-induced Eating Intervention for Cancer Prevention

The purpose of this study is to develop a healthy stress-induced eating intervention that will encourage individuals to replace unhealthy stress-induced eating with healthy stress-induced ...

Changing Eating Behaviors in Young Children: Should Healthy Foods be Increased or Unhealthy Foods Decreased?

Recommendations for treatment of childhood obesity in a primary care setting have been developed. These recommendations include beginning treatment with young children, focusing treatment...

Evaluating the Relationship Between Physical Activity, Diet, Weight, and the Neighborhood Environment for Adolescents

Many teenagers have unhealthy eating habits and do not get enough physical activity. This study will examine whether the neighborhood in which a teenager lives affects his/her quality of l...

Cognitive Therapy for Binge-Eating Disorder

The purpose of this study is to compare the efficacy of a CD-ROM-based cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to traditional manual-based group therapy for obese individuals with binge-eating ...

Diet Quality and LTL in NHANES

In our study, we used data from 4,758 healthy adults from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to examine the associations between evidence-based diet quality in...

PubMed Articles [7135 Associated PubMed Articles listed on BioPortfolio]

Does immersion or detachment facilitate healthy eating? Comparing the effects of sensory imagery and mindful decentering on attitudes and behavior towards healthy and unhealthy food.

Many people would like to reduce indulging in unhealthy foods, but find it difficult to do so. Previous research shows that individuals eat smaller portions of unhealthy hedonic food if they first ima...

Parenting styles, food-related parenting practices, and children's healthy eating: A meditation analysis to examine relationships between parenting and child diet.

Parents exert a strong influence on their children's diet. While authoritative parenting style is linked to healthier weight and dietary outcomes in children, and authoritarian and permissive parentin...

Breaking the fast: Meal patterns and beliefs about healthy eating style are associated with adherence to intermittent fasting diets.

Many believe that eating three meals each day is healthy and that skipping meals can be detrimental. What remains unclear is whether this belief undermines attempts to restrict energy intake by skippi...

Are French Canadians able to accurately self-rate the quality of their diet? Insights from the PREDISE study.

The main objective of this study was to compare self-rated diet quality to a more comprehensive score of diet quality and to assess the ability of self-rated diet quality to predict adherence to healt...

Taste at first (person) sight: Visual perspective modulates brain activity implicitly associated with viewing unhealthy but not healthy foods.

Every day, people are exposed to images of appetizing foods that can lead to high-calorie intake and contribute to overweight and obesity. Research has documented that manipulating the visual perspect...

Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Regular course of eating and drinking adopted by a person or animal. This does not include DIET THERAPY, a specific diet prescribed in the treatment of a disease.

Governmental guidelines and objectives pertaining to public food supply and nutrition including recommendations for healthy diet and changes in food habits to ensure healthy diet.

A sub-PHENOTYPE of obese individuals who have a risk for CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES between that of healthy individuals with normal weight and unhealthy individuals with obesity.

A disorder associated with three or more of the following: eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry; eating much more rapidly than normal; eating alone due to embarrassment; feeling of disgust, DEPRESSION, or guilt after overeating. Criteria includes occurrence on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (i.e. purging, excessive exercise, etc.) and does not co-occur exclusively with BULIMIA NERVOSA or ANOREXIA NERVOSA. (From DSM-IV, 1994)

Dietary patterns which have been found to be important in reducing disease risk.

More From BioPortfolio on "(Mis)Perceptions About Healthy Eating: Effects on Food Intake and Appetite in Men and Women"

Quick Search


Relevant Topics

Obesity is the condition in which excess fat has accumulated in the body (mostly in subcutaneous tissues). clinical obesity is considered to be present when a person has a BMI of over 30 (Oxford Dictionary of Medicine). It is becoming increasing common i...

Within medicine, nutrition (the study of food and the effect of its components on the body) has many different roles. Appropriate nutrition can help prevent certain diseases, or treat others. In critically ill patients, artificial feeding by tubes need t...

Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism ...

Searches Linking to this Trial