Intuitive Eating is Associated With Higher Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among Adults

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2021 Mar;53(3):240-245. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2020.11.015. Epub 2021 Jan 8.


Objective: Assess how intuitive eating relates to dietary intake.

Methods: Survey data were collected in Project Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults, the fourth wave of a longitudinal cohort study (weighted n = 1,830, 49% women; mean age = 31 years). Intuitive eating was assessed using a 7-item scale adapted from the Intuitive Eating Scale and Intuitive Eating Scale-2. Dietary intake was measured via a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Mean servings were stratified by gender and intuitive eating quartiles and adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics and caloric intake.

Results: Women and men in the top intuitive eating quartile consumed 0.6-0.3 servings more fruit and 0.4-0.6 servings more vegetables daily, respectively, compared with the bottom quartile, whereas men in the top quartile also consumed 0.6 servings fewer whole grains (all P < 0.05) than the bottom quartile.

Conclusions and implications: Intuitive eating shows promise as a healthier alternative to practices such as dieting.

Keywords: appetite regulation; diet; dietary intake; healthy; intuitive eating.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diet*
  • Eating
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Vegetables*
  • Young Adult