Intuitive Eating: A Novel Eating Style? Evidence from a Spanish Sample

Juan Ramón Barrada*, Blanca Cativiela, Tatjana Van Strien, Ausiàs Cebolla

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Intuitive eating is defined as an adaptive way of eating that maintains a strong connection with the internal physiological signs of hunger and satiety. It has four elements: unconditional permission to eat whenever and whatever food is desired, eating for physical rather than for emotional reasons, reliance on hunger and satiety cues to determine when and how much to eat, and body-food choice congruence. In this study, we assessed the differences and similarities between intuitive eating, as measured with the Intuitive Eating Scale-2 (IES-2), and eating styles (restrained, emotional, and external eating), assessed with the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ). Using a Spanish sample of mainly university students (n = 1,095) we found that (a) unconditional permission to eat presented a large negative correlation with restrained eating, r = -.82; (b) eating for physical reasons had a large negative correlation with emotional eating, r = -.70; (c) the dimensions of intuitive eating only showed very small correlations with positive and negative affect, satisfaction with life, body dissatisfaction or weight control behavior after restrained, emotional, and external eating had been partialled out. Altogether, the present results suggest that two of the dimensions of intuitive eating as assessed with the IES-2 are not very new or innovative. The most promising new dimension of intuitive eating seems to be body-food choice congruence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-31
Number of pages13
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychological Assessment
Issue number1
Early online date3 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


This research was supported by a grant from the Fundación Universitaria Antonio Gargallo and the Obra Social de Iber-caja. CIBERobn is an initiative of the ISCIII.

FundersFunder number
Fundación Universitaria Antonio Gargallo


    • DEBQ
    • eating styles
    • IES-2
    • intuitive eating
    • validation


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