Scientific article

When hunger does (or doesn't) increase unhealthy and healthy food consumption through food wanting: The distinctive role of impulsive approach tendencies toward healthy food

Published inAppetite, vol. 116, p. 99-107
Publication date2017

Objective: Hunger indirectly triggers unhealthy high-calorie food consumption through its positive effect on the incentive value (or “wanting”) for food. Yet, not everyone consumes unhealthy food in excess, suggesting that some individuals react differently when they are exposed to unhealthy high-calorie food, even when they are hungry. The purpose of the present study was to investigate whether individual differences in impulsive approach tendencies toward food may explain how, and for whom, hunger will influence unhealthy food consumption through its effect on food wanting. A complementary goal was to explore whether these individual differences also influence healthy food consumption. Methods: Students (N ¼ 70) completed a questionnaire measuring their hunger and food wanting. Then, they performed a manikin task designed to evaluate their impulsive approach tendencies toward unhealthy food (IAUF) and healthy food (IAHF). The main outcomes variables were the amount of sweets (i.e., unhealthy food) and raisins (i.e., healthy food) consumed during a product-testing task. Results: A moderated mediation analysis revealed that the indirect effect of hunger on unhealthy consumption through food wanting was moderated by IAHF. Specifically, hunger positively predicted sweets consumption through wanting for food among individuals with a low or moderate, but not high IAHF. The moderated mediation pattern was, however, not confirmed for IAUF. Finally, results revealed a direct and positive effect of IAHF on raisins consumption. Conclusion: These findings showed that IAHF play a protective role by preventing hunger to indirectly increase unhealthy food consumption through wanting for food. It confirms the importance of considering how individuals may differ in their impulsive approach tendencies toward food to better understand why some individuals will increase their unhealthy food intake when they are hungry, whereas other will not

  • Hunger
  • Food wanting
  • Impulsive approach avoidance tendencies
  • Food consumption
Citation (ISO format)
CHEVAL, Boris et al. When hunger does (or doesn’t) increase unhealthy and healthy food consumption through food wanting: The distinctive role of impulsive approach tendencies toward healthy food. In: Appetite, 2017, vol. 116, p. 99–107. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.04.028
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0195-6663

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