Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Janice Zeman

Committee Member

Danielle Dallaire

Committee Member

Douglas DeBerry

Abstract

The current study investigated how fat information presented with a beverage affects perception ratings and consumption. Participants consisted of a sample of female restrained (n = 53) and unrestrained eaters (n = 62) who were either weighed before (weight salient) or after (weight non-salient) the experimental session. During the experimental session, participants tasted and rated chocolate milk that was labeled as full fat or low fat in counterbalanced order. While unrestrained eaters perceived the drink labeled full fat as smelling better than the drink labeled as low fat, restrained eaters did not differ in their ratings of the full and low fat labeled drinks. In contrast, restrained eaters consumed more of the beverage when it had a low fat label than a full fat label. Additionally, regardless of restraint classification, when made aware of their weight prior to the taste test, participants consumed more of the beverage labeled as low fat relative to the drink labeled full fat, whereas there was no differential consumption of the drinks for participants in the weight non-salient condition. Overall participants underestimated the caloric content of low fat chocolate milk while overestimating the beverage’s serving size. Findings from the current study suggest that restrained eaters’ consumption is more sensitive to fat labeling than that of unrestrained eaters. Moreover, it appears that regardless of their dieting habits, college age females’ consumption is affected by a reminder of their weight.

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