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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2015 Jun;23(6):1130-5. doi: 10.1002/oby.21098.

Anticipatory and reactive responses to chocolate restriction in frequent chocolate consumers.

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Department of Nutrition Science, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA.



Many individuals have difficulty adhering to a weight loss diet. One possible explanation could be that dietary restriction paradoxically contributes to overconsumption. The objective of this study was to examine ingestive behavior under a forced chocolate restriction with a focus on the anticipatory restriction period and the post-restriction period in frequent chocolate consumers.


Fifty-six male (N = 18) and female (N = 38) high chocolate consumers with high (N = 25) or low (N = 31) cognitive disinhibition participated. Chocolate snacks were provided for a week each to establish baseline, pre-restriction, and post-restriction consumption, Chocolate snacks were replaced with nonchocolate snacks during a 3-week chocolate restriction period.


Highly disinhibited participants felt more guilty and consumed significantly more energy than low disinhibited participants across snack conditions. Low disinhibited participants consumed significantly less in the post-restriction period compared to baseline and the pre-restriction period, while high disinhibited participants consumed the same amount across all conditions. Aggregating the data, high and low disinhibited chocolate consumers ate snacks more frequently in the pre- and post-restriction periods compared to the baseline period.


This study suggests that for some individuals, restriction of a preferred food like chocolate may be contraindicated for energy restriction and weight management.

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