Competition and Food Intake: A Laboratory Study

  • Marisa Bucheli Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay
  • Mariana Gerstenbluth Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay
  • Maximo Rossi Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay


The aim of this paper is to analyze the intake of two types of sweet snacks by women using competitive environments as stressors. We study the effect of competition on food intake from two perspectives: overall consumption and the substitution between two snacks (a “healthy” and a “nonhealthy” snack). For this purpose we did a laboratory experiment in which the participants were women. They were offered chocolate candies and raisins as they solved several problems. Half of the participants completed the tasks at a noncompetitive piece rate and the other half under a competitive tournament incentive scheme. The results show that at the median the participants’ intake was higher under tournament than piece rate payment. Moreover, the increase in food intake was led by a rise in chocolate consumption. We conclude that competition increases the consumption of fat, calories and carbohydrates and thus affects eating behavior and promotes unhealthy patterns. This research contributes to the strand of the literature that focuses on factors that affect the eating behavior which influences health.


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How to Cite
Bucheli, M., Gerstenbluth, M., & Rossi, M. (2018). Competition and Food Intake: A Laboratory Study. European Scientific Journal, ESJ, 14(10), 53.