Intuitive eating has been associated with positive health benefits, yet the research investigating intuitive eating with dietary intake is minimal, inconsistent, and may differ by sex and food security status. The purpose of this study is to identify relationships between intuitive eating and dietary intake in adults living in the US and explore differences by sex and food insecurity status. We recruited 308 adults 18 years and older living in the US to complete an online survey including demographic data, intuitive eating, a diet screener questionnaire, and food insecurity status. We used structural equation modeling to analyze relationships between intuitive eating subscales, calcium, whole grains, added sugars, vegetables, and fruits. Then, we explored differences by sex and food security status. Unconditional permission to eat was associated with a higher intake of added sugar, while body-food choice congruence was associated with a lower intake of added sugar and calcium, and a higher intake of vegetables and whole grains. Eating for physical rather than emotional reasons was associated with a higher intake of calcium and vegetables. Intuitive eating differed by sex and food security status. While intuitive eating is not consistently related to the intake of more nutritious foods, eating for physical rather than emotional reasons and body-food choice congruence may promote diet quality in a community sample. Men and food secure adults scored higher in intuitive eating suggesting tailored intuitive eating interventions may be essential to increase effectiveness.
Keywords: Dietary intake; Food insecurity; Intuitive eating.
Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.