Obese and overweight less likely to consider next meal when making portion size decisions

July 18, 2017

University of Bristol researchers have found that people with obesity tend to ignore how long it will be until the next meal when choosing how much to eat. In a study designed see if people consider the time interval between two meals when selecting portion sizes, the researchers found that lean people generally do. However, obese people tend to discount that information. The findings will be presented this week at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the leading scientific society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior.

Obesity has previously been linked to differences in "delay discounting" - the tendency to treat something as less significant based on how far in the future it will occur. Delay discounting is a facet of impulsivity, encouraging decisions in the moment that disregard future rewards or consequences. Typically psychologists study how discounting works in tasks using money. In this study, for the first time, the Bristol researchers assessed how people with obesity discount information about future meal timings.

"Meal timings and future planning are an important area of research in obesity. These findings are exciting because they are the first to demonstrate that discounting operates in planning from one meal to the next and that people with obesity might not be factoring that in to their choices," said lead author Annie Zimmerman, a doctoral student at the University of Bristol. "Our results are consistent with the idea that overeating is promoted by feeling in the moment, disregarding future consequences of decisions. This novel finding might help to explain why being overweight is associated with irregular meal timings. Potentially there could be targeted interventions for obesity to promote future thinking in meal planning."

In the study, participants completed a series of computerized tasks, which included selecting lunch portion sizes after being told how long after lunch the next meal would be (ranging up to 8 hours later). The researchers found that individuals with a high BMI were less influenced by information about the inter-meal interval when making portion size decisions. Additionally, participants completed a monetary delay discounting task. There was no interaction between the monetary delay discounting task and the inter-meal interval task, although both independently predicted BMI. This suggests that these factors work in parallel, but tap into separate traits related to obesity.

"It is particularly interesting that monetary discounting was not related to sensitivity to future meal timings. The literature is beginning to differentiate between discounting of food and money - our findings are consistent with the idea that there temporal discounting works differently for different reward types. Our results highlight the need to distinguish between long-term monetary discounting and shorter-term discounting between meals. To fully understand the role of dietary discounting in eating behaviours and the links to obesity we need to develop a multifaceted model of discounting," explained Zimmerman.
-end-
This research was supported by the European Union Seventh Framework Programme Nudge-it project (FP7/2007-2013).

More information:

Research: Obese and overweight, relative to lean, individuals discount information about the inter-meal interval when selecting portion size

Lead Author: Annie Zimmerman, University of Bristol, Priory Road, Bristol, UK

Co-Authors: Alice Mason, Peter Rogers, Jeff Brunstrom

Contact: Annie Zimmerman, annie.zimmerman@bristol.ac.uk

Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.