Skatova, A., Stewart, N., Flavahan, E., & Goulding, J. (2019). Those whose calorie comsumption varies the most eat the most. Available on PsyArXiv at: https://psyarxiv.com/ah8jp

Unhealthy eating habits are associated with higher mortality rates and various negative health outcomes, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and various types of cancer. We used 2,831,403 machine recorded ‘meal deal’ transactions from 205,781 individuals over the course of one year from one of the UK’s largest suppliers of lunch time foods to investigate whether there is a relationship between patterns of choice and higher calorie consumption. Controlling for gender, general index of variety in the choice of lunch food items, income and education, we found that individuals who vary in their calorie consumption most across the time of day, day of the week, and month of the year are the individuals who consume the greatest number of calories overall. These time sensitivity effects are large, together explaining a substantial amount of variance in calorie consumption. Time sensitivity effects are strongly correlated across all three time scales suggesting they measure a stable underlying trait.

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