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Appetite. 2012 Feb;58(1):319-25. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.10.015. Epub 2011 Nov 2.

To eat or not to eat red meat. A closer look at the relationship between restrained eating and vegetarianism in college females.

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  • 1Psychology Department, The College of William & Mary, P.O. Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23185-8795, USA.


Previous research has suggested that vegetarianism may serve as a mask for restrained eating. The purpose of this study was to compare the dietary habits and lifestyle behaviors of vegetarians (n=55), pesco-vegetarians (n=28), semi-vegetarians (n=29), and flexitarians (n=37), to omnivores (n=91), who do not restrict animal products from their diets. A convenience sample of college-age females completed questionnaires about their eating habits, food choice motivations, and personality characteristics. Results indicated that while vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians were more open to new experiences and less food neophobic, they were not more restrained than omnivores. Rather semi-vegetarians; those who restricted only red meat from their diet, and flexitarians; those who occasionally eat red meat, were significantly more restrained than omnivores. Whereas food choices of semi-vegetarians and flexitarians were motivated by weight control, vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians' food choices were motivated by ethical concerns. By focusing specifically on semi-vegetarian and flexitarian subgroups, more effective approaches can be developed to ensure that their concerns about weight loss do not lead to unhealthful or disordered eating patterns.

Published by Elsevier Ltd.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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