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Appetite. 2009 Dec;53(3):430-3. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2009.08.002. Epub 2009 Aug 8.

How chocolate keeps you slim. The effect of food temptations on weight watching goal importance, intentions, and eating behavior.

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Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


In the Western rich food environment, people are constantly confronted with palatable but unhealthy food products. For those who would like to watch their weight, the appeal of immediate satisfaction is in conflict with their long-term weight watching goal, constituting a classic self-control dilemma. The current studies were designed to test the effect of food temptations on self-regulation mechanisms. Hypotheses were based on counteractive control theory stating that temptations trigger goal-directed behavior, thereby forming an adaptive self-regulation mechanism. Two experimental studies showed that exposure to food temptations, compared to a control condition, yielded enhanced goal importance (Study 1), goal intentions, and goal-directed behavior (i.e., healthy eating; Study 2). It is concluded that confrontation with temptations is not always undermining self-control and may even be beneficial for long-term goal pursuit.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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