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PLoS One. 2018 May 23;13(5):e0197131. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0197131. eCollection 2018.

The relevance of restrained eating behavior for circadian eating patterns in adolescents.

Author information

DONALD Study, Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, University of Bonn, Bonn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Public Health Nutrition, Institute of Nutrition, Consumption and Health, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University Paderborn, Paderborn, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.



Restrained Eating, i.e. the tendency to restrict dietary intake to control body-weight, often emerges during adolescence and may result in changes in circadian eating patterns.


The objective of the present investigation was to determine the cross-sectional relevance of restrained eating for characteristics of circadian eating pattern in adolescents and whether changes in restrained eating are accompanied by concurrent changes in circadian eating pattern over the course of adolescence.


Two questionnaires assessing restrained eating (Score 0-30) with parallel 3-day weighed dietary records from two different time points were available from 209 (♂:101, ♀:108) 11-18 year old adolescents of the DONALD study. Mixed linear regression models were used to analyze whether restrained eating was associated with eating occasion frequency, snack frequency and morning and evening energy intake [in % of daily energy intake, %E]. Linear regression models were used to examine whether changes in restrained eating were associated with changes in the mentioned variables.


Among girls, greater restrained eating was cross-sectionally associated with higher morning energy intake (p = 0.03). Further, there was a tendency towards lower evening energy intake with higher levels of restrained eating for the whole sample (p = 0.06). No cross-sectional associations were found with eating occasion or snack frequency. Each one-point increase in restrained eating during adolescence was related to a concurrent decrease in eating occasion frequency by 0.04 (95% CI -0.08; -0.01, p = 0.02) and in evening energy intake by 0.36%E (95% CI -0.70; -0.03, p = 0.04). A tendency towards decreasing snack frequency with increasing restrained eating was observed (β = -0.03, 95% CI -0.07; 0.00, p = 0.07). No association was found between changes in restrained eating and concurrent changes in morning energy intake.


We found indications for cross-sectional and prospective associations between restrained eating and chronobiological aspects of food intake in adolescents. Our results suggest that restrained eating should be considered a relevant determinant of circadian eating patterns.

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