Contributions of mindful eating, intuitive eating, and restraint to BMI, disordered eating, and meal consumption in college students

Eat Weight Disord. 2016 Mar;21(1):83-90. doi: 10.1007/s40519-015-0210-3. Epub 2015 Aug 5.


Purpose: Mindful eating and intuitive eating are promoted as means to circumvent potentially maladaptive dietary restraint while maintaining a healthy weight. Although theoretically related, no studies have examined the correlations between intuitive eating, mindful eating, and restraint in the same sample. This study sought to examine these constructs and their correlations with body mass index (BMI), eating-disordered behaviors, and meal consumption in a college sample.

Methods: Participants (N = 125) completed a laboratory taste-test meal and measures of each eating-related construct using the EDDS, IES, MEQ, and TFEQ-Restraint Subscale.

Results: Mindful eating, intuitive eating, and restraint were not strongly correlated. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses indicated that restraint and intuitive eating accounted for significant variance in disordered eating and BMI. Elevated restraint was associated with increased BMI and disordered eating; elevated intuitive eating was associated with decreased BMI and disordered eating. Mindful eating did not correlate with any outcome variables. Follow-up analyses suggested that specific intuitive eating subscales accounted for unique variance in the relation between intuitive eating and disordered eating. Intuitive eating was the only construct that was significantly associated with meal consumption.

Conclusions: Intuitive eating and restraint appear to be only weakly correlated, and each is differentially associated with meal consumption. Mindful eating does not appear to relate to outcome variables.

Keywords: BMI; College sample; Intuitive eating; Mindful eating; Restraint; Taste-test meal.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Diet / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meals / psychology*
  • Mindfulness*
  • Students / psychology
  • Universities
  • Young Adult