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How to Stop Hedonic Eating

Breaking the circle of hedonic food consumption.

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Exercising to curb hedonic eating

Beyond burning calories, researchers at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, have identified another way that working up a sweat could improve health: Exercise can put the brakes on hedonic eating.

Hedonic eating is the tendency to consume foods for psychological pleasure and in the absence of physical hunger or the actual need for calories. In a market saturated with hyperpalatable foods, this is thought to be a big reason why people overeat.

In a paper in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, the authors reported that women classified as “stress eaters” took part in fewer overeating episodes, were less likely to give in to food temptations and ate in response to internal cues when they took part in a 3-month moderate- intensity exercise program (200 minutes each week). This is compared with their peers who were randomly assigned to a no-exercise control group. The simple act of physical activity may make people more mindful of their unhealthy eating patterns.

See also: Overeating With Digital Distractions



Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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