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Nutr Res. 2012 Jun;32(6):413-20. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.008. Epub 2012 Jun 22.

Participation in mindfulness-based stress reduction is not associated with reductions in emotional eating or uncontrolled eating.

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  • 1VA Puget Sound Health Care System, Seattle, WA 98108, USA.


The adverse health effects and increasing prevalence of obesity in the United States make interventions for obesity a priority in health research. Diet-focused interventions generally do not result in lasting reductions in weight. Behavioral interventions that increase awareness of eating cues and satiety have been postulated to result in healthier eating habits. We hypothesized that participation in a program called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) would positively influence the eating behaviors and nutritional intake of participants through changes in emotional eating (EE), uncontrolled eating (UE), and type and quantity of food consumed. Forty-eight veterans at a large urban Veterans Administration medical center were assessed before MBSR, after MBSR, and 4 months later. For all participants (N = 48), MBSR participation was not associated with significant changes in EE or UE. In addition, there were no significant differences in the intake of energy, fat, sugar, fruit, or vegetables at either follow-up time point as compared with baseline. Enhanced mindfulness skills and reduced depressive symptoms were seen over time with medium to large effect sizes. Changes in mindfulness skills were significantly and negatively correlated with changes in EE and UE over time. Overall, there was no evidence that participation in MBSR was associated with beneficial changes in eating through reductions in disinhibited eating or significant changes in dietary intake. Randomized studies are needed to further define the relationship between mindfulness program participation and eating behaviors.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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