Effects of awareness that food intake is being measured by a universal eating monitor on the consumption of a pasta lunch and a cookie snack in healthy female volunteers.
Thomas JM., Dourish CT., Higgs S.
To date, there have been no studies that have explicitly examined the effect of awareness on the consumption of food from a Universal Eating Monitor (UEM - hidden balance interfaced to a computer which covertly records eating behaviour). We tested whether awareness of a UEM affected consumption of a pasta lunch and a cookie snack. 39 female participants were randomly assigned to either an aware or unaware condition. After being informed of the presence of the UEM (aware) or not being told about its presence (unaware), participants consumed ad-libitum a pasta lunch from the UEM followed by a cookie snack. Awareness of the UEM did not significantly affect the amount of pasta or cookies eaten. However, awareness significantly reduced the rate of cookie consumption. These results suggest that awareness of being monitored by the UEM has no effect on the consumption of a pasta meal, but does influence the consumption of a cookie snack in the absence of hunger. Hence, energy dense snack foods consumed after a meal may be more susceptible to awareness of monitoring than staple food items.