External eating mediates the relationship between impulsivity and unhealthy food intake
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Recent evidence from the eating domain shows a link between impulsivity and unhealthy food intake. However, the mechanism underlying this relationship remains unclear. One possibility is an external eating style, which has been linked to both impulsivity and food intake. The current study investigated the potential mediating role of external eating in the relationship between impulsivity and food intake. Participants were 146 undergraduate women who completed measures of impulsivity and external eating, and took part in a laboratory taste test as a behavioural index of unhealthy snack food intake. It was found that attentional and motor impulsivity interacted in predicting sweet food intake, but only motor impulsivity predicted both external eating and sweet food intake. Furthermore, the relationship between motor impulsivity and food intake was mediated by external eating. These findings support the development of interventions aimed at targeting specific aspects of impulsivity in order to reduce unhealthy eating behaviour.