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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 16, 2021

Intuitive and mindful eating to improve physiological health parameters: a short narrative review of intervention studies

  • Lauren C. Hayashi , Giada Benasi , Marie-Pierre St-Onge and Brooke Aggarwal ORCID logo EMAIL logo



This brief narrative review aims to give an up-to-date overview of intuitive and mindful eating (I/ME) interventions with specific focus on cardiometabolic risk factors, including glucose, lipid profile, blood pressure and inflammatory markers.


I/ME intervention studies in adults which measured at least one physiological parameter other than weight were identified from PubMed. The clinical trial/randomized controlled trial filters and publication dates 2001 through April 2021 with variations of the following keywords were applied: intuitive eating, mindful eating, weight neutral. Ten articles were identified.

Summary and outlook

Of the 10 studies, seven showed I/ME interventions were more effective than control in at least one cardiometabolic outcome, two showed significant I/ME within-group improvements but no between-group differences, and one showed neither within-group nor between-group differences. Specifically, I/ME improved glucose levels among pregnant women with or without gestational diabetes, lipid profile among adults with overweight or obesity, blood pressure among participants with overweight and inflammatory markers among post-menopausal women with obesity. However, the positive impact of I/ME on each of these cardiometabolic parameters was not consistent across studies: of the six studies that examined glucose regulation, two demonstrated positive outcomes for I/ME group, whereas four found no effect compared to control. Three out of five studies had positive lipid effects, one out of five demonstrated systolic blood pressure (SBP) improvements and one of two showed improvements in inflammatory markers. Given these mixed results, more research is needed to understand the possible effectiveness of I/ME to improve cardiometabolic health.

Corresponding author: Brooke Aggarwal, EdD, MS, FAHA, Institute of Human Nutrition, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University Irving Medical Center. 51 Audubon Avenue, Suite 505, New York, NY 10032, USA; and Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY, USA, Phone: +(212) 342 2105, E-mail:

Award Identifier / Grant number: 16SFRN27950012

Award Identifier / Grant number: 16SFRN27960011

Award Identifier / Grant number: AHA811531

Award Identifier / Grant number: NIH R01HL128226

Award Identifier / Grant number: NIH R01HL142648

  1. Research funding: Drs. Aggarwal and St-Onge are supported by American Heart Association Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network Awards: 16SFRN27960011 (PI: BA) and 16SFRN27950012 (PI: MPSO) and AHA811531 (PI: BA), and the National Institutes of Health NIH R01HL142648 (PI: MPSO), and NIH R01HL128226 (PI: MPSO).

  2. Author contributions: LH wrote the first draft of the manuscript; GB, MPSO and BA revised the manuscript and provided intellectual input. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.


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Received: 2021-07-07
Accepted: 2021-11-29
Published Online: 2021-12-16

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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