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Eat Behav. 2013 Jan;14(1):40-6. doi: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2012.10.010. Epub 2012 Oct 31.

Modeling the effects of positive and negative mood on the ability to resist eating in obese and non-obese individuals.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.


This pilot study adapted a well-established drug self-administration paradigm to examine the effects of mood induction on the ability to resist high-calorie foods and subsequent food consumption differently in 15 obese individuals (40.0% women, BMI: 35.1±3.70) and 15 non-obese individuals (46.7% women, BMI: 23.0±1.96). Participants completed two laboratory sessions (positive vs. negative mood conditions) consisting of 3-hour food deprivation, followed by mood induction, and a 3-hour ad-lib eating period, where they were asked to choose between favorite high-calorie snacks and monetary reinforcement. Obese individuals were less able to resist eating and increased high-calorie food consumption during the positive mood condition than the negative condition. Non-obese individuals were less able to resist eating during the negative mood condition than the positive condition, but their total consumption was not affected by the mood conditions. In obese individuals, food craving was associated with less ability to resist eating and greater calorie consumption during the negative mood condition. This is the first study to experimentally demonstrate that mood state may increase vulnerability to food consumption by reducing the ability to resist eating. The ability to resist eating may be a novel dimension of eating behaviors that has a significant contribution to understanding mood-eating relationships.

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