Assessing the effectiveness of intuitive eating for weight loss - pilot study

Nutr Health. 2012 Apr;21(2):107-15. doi: 10.1177/0260106012459994. Epub 2012 Nov 7.


The obesity epidemic is widely recognized as a major public health issue resulting in chronic diseases. Calorie restriction (CR) is frequently used for most weight loss programs. The intuitive eating (IE) approach uses an individual's response to internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite and replaces CR. The study was a randomized controlled trial with two groups that assessed the anthropometric measurements of obese adults using CR and IE to achieve weight loss. The participants were sedentary obese individuals with no history of chronic diseases. They engaged in physical activity three times per week for 30 minutes and recorded their daily food intake in a food diary. Instructions were given for the CR and IE at the start and midpoint of the study. The duration of the study was 6 weeks. Weight and waist circumference were measured and body mass index calculated. total weight loss was significantly (p=0.03) lower in the CR group than in the IE group. The CR group lost weight consistently throughout the study, whereas weight loss in the IE group was significantly less at the endpoint than at the midpoint. Calorie restriction is a superior approach to weight management than IE.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Appetite
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • California
  • Caloric Restriction / methods*
  • Caloric Restriction / psychology
  • Diet Records
  • Diet, Reducing / methods*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Hunger
  • Intuition*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Satiation
  • Students
  • Waist Circumference
  • Weight Loss*
  • Young Adult