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Int J Eat Disord. 1998 Nov;24(3):259-66.

Do unsuccessful dieters intentionally underreport food intake?

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Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey, USA.



A bogus pipeline paradigm was utilized to assess whether food intake underreporting by unsuccessful dieters is intentional.


Twenty-eight subjects completed 1-week food diaries. Then, 17 subjects in the experimental condition kept 2-week food diaries while being told the researcher was verifying their report. Eleven subjects in the control group were asked merely to self-monitor for two more weeks.


Results indicate that subjects in the experimental group reported significantly greater intake than control subjects, when controlling for reported intake during the screening phase and weight change.


Thus, the belief that the researcher could verify their report improved the accuracy of patients' self-report. However, all subjects continued to underreport their dietary intake. In summary, underreporting may be an intentional attempt to manage presentation to others in a society that is increasingly critical of overweight persons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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