Guilty pleasures II: restrained eaters' implicit preferences for high, moderate and low-caloric food.
In a previous study, restrained eaters showed stronger implicit preferences for high-caloric food compared to unrestrained eaters. Caloric density and palatability are however almost always intertwined, and it was never tested whether this high-calorie food preference of restrained eaters follows from the energy density or the palatability of high-calorie foods. Here, it was examined whether restrained eaters may hold stronger implicit preferences than unrestrained eaters for palatable food in general, irrespective of caloric density. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Using two unipolar SCIATs positive and negative implicit associations were measured with palatable food of either high, moderate, or low caloric density. Results showed a strong effect of dietary restraint on implicit food preferences independently of caloric density, indicating stronger implicit preferences for all types of palatable food with increased dietary restraint. With respect to negative implicit associations, participants showed stronger negative implicit associations with high-calorie food than with moderate-calorie or low-calorie food, regardless of dietary restraint. Thus, restrained eaters show enhanced implicit preferences, not only for high caloric food, but for palatable food in general compared to unrestrained eaters. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.