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Appetite. 2012 Oct;59(2):488-93. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.06.014. Epub 2012 Jun 28.

Is counter-regulation among restrained eaters a result of motivated overeating?

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  • 1School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The aim of the present study was to determine whether the counter-regulation observed among preloaded restrained eaters is a result of motivated overeating. Restrained eaters (n=58) and unrestrained eaters (n=60) first consumed either a non-caloric drink or a high-calorie milkshake preload. Next, participants completed a food-reinforcement task to assess their motivation to obtain cookies. Finally, participants completed a cookie taste test. Preloaded unrestrained eaters ate less than did unrestrained eaters in the control condition. Preloaded restrained eaters, in contrast, displayed the typical pattern of counter-regulation in that they ate significantly more cookies than did restrained eaters in the control condition. Reinforcing value predicted cookie consumption for unrestrained but not for restrained eaters. These findings suggest that counter-regulation is not a result of motivated eating, and that the exact mechanism that underlies the phenomenon still requires clarification.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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