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Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians.

Abstract

Adherence to a vegetarian diet has been hypothesized to be a factor in the onset and maintenance of disordered eating behavior; however, evidence to support this assumption has been largely mixed. The two studies presented here sought to address the causes of inconsistent findings in previous research, including: small samples of true vegetarians, lack of appropriate operational definitions of "vegetarianism", and uncertainty about the appropriateness of existing assessments of eating behaviors for semi-vegetarians. Study 1 assessed eating behaviors in the largest samples of confirmed true vegetarians and vegans surveyed to date, and compared them to semi-vegetarians and omnivores. Semi-vegetarians reported the highest levels of eating-related pathology; true vegetarians and vegans appeared to be healthiest in regards to weight and eating. Study 2 examined differences between semi-vegetarians and omnivores in terms of restraint and disordered eating and found little evidence for more eating-related pathology in semi-vegetarians, compared to omnivores. Semi-vegetarians' higher scores on traditional assessments of eating behaviors appeared artificially inflated by ratings of items assessing avoidance of specific food items which should be considered normative in the context of a vegetarian diet. Findings shed light on the sources of inconsistencies in prior research on eating behaviors in vegetarians and suggest that semi-vegetarianism - as opposed to true vegetarianism or veganism - is the most likely related to disordered eating.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors+Show Affiliations

    ,

    Department of Psychology, Towson University, Towson, MD 21252, USA. a.timko@usp.edu

    ,

    Source

    Appetite 58:3 2012 Jun pg 982-90

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adult
    Clinical Trials as Topic
    Diet, Vegetarian
    Feeding Behavior
    Feeding and Eating Disorders
    Female
    Food Preferences
    Health
    Humans
    Male
    Reference Values
    Research Design
    Social Control, Informal
    Young Adult

    Pub Type(s)

    Comparative Study
    Journal Article

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    22343135

    Citation

    Timko, C Alix, et al. "Will the Real Vegetarian Please Stand Up? an Investigation of Dietary Restraint and Eating Disorder Symptoms in Vegetarians Versus Non-vegetarians." Appetite, vol. 58, no. 3, 2012, pp. 982-90.
    Timko CA, Hormes JM, Chubski J. Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. Appetite. 2012;58(3):982-90.
    Timko, C. A., Hormes, J. M., & Chubski, J. (2012). Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. Appetite, 58(3), pp. 982-90. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2012.02.005.
    Timko CA, Hormes JM, Chubski J. Will the Real Vegetarian Please Stand Up? an Investigation of Dietary Restraint and Eating Disorder Symptoms in Vegetarians Versus Non-vegetarians. Appetite. 2012;58(3):982-90. PubMed PMID: 22343135.
    * Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
    TY - JOUR T1 - Will the real vegetarian please stand up? An investigation of dietary restraint and eating disorder symptoms in vegetarians versus non-vegetarians. AU - Timko,C Alix, AU - Hormes,Julia M, AU - Chubski,Janice, Y1 - 2012/02/14/ PY - 2011/03/04/received PY - 2012/02/05/revised PY - 2012/02/07/accepted PY - 2012/2/21/entrez PY - 2012/2/22/pubmed PY - 2012/9/20/medline SP - 982 EP - 90 JF - Appetite JO - Appetite VL - 58 IS - 3 N2 - Adherence to a vegetarian diet has been hypothesized to be a factor in the onset and maintenance of disordered eating behavior; however, evidence to support this assumption has been largely mixed. The two studies presented here sought to address the causes of inconsistent findings in previous research, including: small samples of true vegetarians, lack of appropriate operational definitions of "vegetarianism", and uncertainty about the appropriateness of existing assessments of eating behaviors for semi-vegetarians. Study 1 assessed eating behaviors in the largest samples of confirmed true vegetarians and vegans surveyed to date, and compared them to semi-vegetarians and omnivores. Semi-vegetarians reported the highest levels of eating-related pathology; true vegetarians and vegans appeared to be healthiest in regards to weight and eating. Study 2 examined differences between semi-vegetarians and omnivores in terms of restraint and disordered eating and found little evidence for more eating-related pathology in semi-vegetarians, compared to omnivores. Semi-vegetarians' higher scores on traditional assessments of eating behaviors appeared artificially inflated by ratings of items assessing avoidance of specific food items which should be considered normative in the context of a vegetarian diet. Findings shed light on the sources of inconsistencies in prior research on eating behaviors in vegetarians and suggest that semi-vegetarianism - as opposed to true vegetarianism or veganism - is the most likely related to disordered eating. SN - 1095-8304 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/22343135/full_citation L2 - https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0195-6663(12)00037-2 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -