Recall of recent lunch and its effect on subsequent snack intake

Suzanne Higgs, AC Williamson, AS Attwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

67 Citations (Scopus)


Recall of food eaten at lunch decreases afternoon snack intake, suggesting that awareness of a recent eating episode may be an important factor influencing appetite. The aim of the present studies was to investigate whether the inhibitory effect of remembering a recent lunch meal on subsequent snack intake is dependent upon 1) the type and palatability of the snack offered; 2) participants' level of dietary restraint and tendency towards disinhibition; and 3) the delay between lunch and recall. Popcorn snacks differing in amount of added salt and rated palatability were offered to male participants in Experiment 1. Participants who recalled the lunch they had eaten that day consumed less of all types of popcorn than participants who recalled lunch eaten the previous day, suggesting that the effect of recent meal recall is not dependent upon the palatability of the snack food. In Experiment 2, a similar pattern of results was observed but only for women who scored low, and not high, on a measure of tendency toward dietary disinhibition, possibly because a tendency toward disinhibition is associated with impaired memory for the lunch. In Experiment 3, decreased cookie intake by women was observed after remembering today's lunch relative to a neutral control condition, but this effect was similarly only observed for participants scoring low in tendency toward disinhibition. In addition, the effect was dependent on the time elapsed between the lunch and recall, since intake was only reduced at a snack tasting session 3-hours post-lunch (when some forgetting of the meal occurred) and not 1-hour post-lunch. It is concluded that the inhibitory effect of recalling foods eaten at lunch on subsequent snack intake is a robust phenomenon that is related to memory of that lunch and is moderated by tendency toward dietary disinhibition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)454-62
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2008


  • cognitive
  • restraint
  • palatability
  • disinhibition
  • food intake
  • memory


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