Date: 21 Oct 2013

Cue reactivity in male restrained eaters: The role of negative cognitions as predictors of food intake

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OBJECTIVE: While restrained eating is one of the most well-established risk factors of eating disorders in females, its role for eating disturbances in males remains largely unclear. The present study investigates eating behaviour in response to food cues and negative cognitions in male restrained eaters. METHODS: Twenty-four restrained eaters and 21 unrestrained eaters volunteered in a cue reactivity experiment consisting of two exposure trials with and without response prevention. Food and macronutrient intake were monitored, and negative cognitions were assessed using a self-report cognition inventory. RESULTS: Male restrained eaters consumed a larger amount of food, specifically carbohydrates, than unrestrained eaters. This greater food intake was predicted by negative cognitions about self-esteem and occurred in restrained eaters who had reported binge eating episodes in the diagnostic interview. DISCUSSION: Results suggest marked cue reactivity in male restrained eaters with an increased risk of overeating in those who experience low situational self-esteem and who are binge eaters.