A Healthy Diet is Associated With an Attentional Bias Towards Low-calorie Food Stimuli


  • A. Meule
  • T. Gründel
  • M. Mayerhofer
  • P. Platte


Background: Attentional bias towards high-calorie food-cues is associated with overeating. Attentional retraining can reduce attentional bias for chocolate as well as subsequent chocolate consumption. Methods: Attentional bias for low- or high-calorie food stimuli was investigated in young women (N = 55) using a dot-probe task. Findings: Reaction times in response to dots replacing pictures of low-calorie foods were faster than in response to dots replacing pictures of high-calorie foods. Attentional bias score (reaction times to dots replacing low-calorie foods minus reaction times to dots replacing high-calorie foods) was negatively correlated with eating a healthy diet (assessed with the Diet Quality Index of the Food Frequency List), indicating an attentional bias for low-calorie foods in individuals eating more healthy foods and, vice versa, an attentional bias for high-calorie foods in individuals eating more unhealthy foods. Discussion: Results provide a basis for future avenues in attentional bias modification research. That is, attentional retraining may not only reduce consumption of high-calorie foods, but may also induce more healthy food choices.