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Mindfulness, self-compassion, and mindful eating in relation to fat and sugar consumption: an exploratory investigation

Abstract

While much research has focused on overeating when exploring constructs of mindfulness, mindful eating, and self-compassion, there is limited research on the specific relationship of these constructs with consumption of energy-dense foods that have a large impact on weight regulation. In a cross-sectional study, university students (n = 546) were recruited to explore the relationship between mindfulness, mindful eating, self-compassion, and fat and/or sugar consumption. Results indicated that all constructs were negatively related to fat and sugar consumption, but self-compassion did not do so in a univariate fashion. When investigating subscales, negative aspects such as isolation and over-identification show a significant positive relationship to fat and sugar consumption. Possible explanations and future directions are discussed further with an emphasis on the need for more empirical work.

 Level of Evidence: Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.

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Correspondence to Michail Mantzios.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The study was approved by the Ethical Review Board of the University, and was in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee, and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. Informed written consent was obtained prior to the experiment. This article does not contain any studies with animals.

Informed consent

All participants were provided with a participant information sheet which outlined the aims and objectives of the research, assured confidentiality and informed participants of their right to withdraw. Participants were provided with a participant number in order that they could contact the lead researcher for up to two weeks after completed the study if they wished to withdraw their data. Participants gave consent online by clicking a consent button once they had completed the study.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to public availability violating the consent that was given by research participants.

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Mantzios, M., Egan, H., Hussain, M. et al. Mindfulness, self-compassion, and mindful eating in relation to fat and sugar consumption: an exploratory investigation. Eat Weight Disord 23, 833–840 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-018-0548-4

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Keywords

  • Mindfulness
  • Mindful eating
  • Self-compassion
  • Obesity
  • Fat consumption
  • Sugar consumption