Not all dieters are the same: Development of the Diet Balancing Scale

Yi (Fionna) Xie, Naomi Mandel, Meryl P. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We propose that dieters hold different lay beliefs about diet approaches, and we categorize dieters into two main types: abstainers, who try to avoid certain types of food entirely, and balancers, who allow “everything in moderation” and strategically indulge during their diets. Building on prior research on implicit self-beliefs, we develop and validate a Diet Balancing Scale (Studies 1 and 2a-b), which assesses lay beliefs about whether balancing or abstinence is a more effective dieting strategy. Study 3 shows that dieters’ actual eating behavior accurately reflects their measured Diet Balancing. Study 4 demonstrates that balancers prefer healthy food advertisements that contain belief-affirming (vs. belief-inconsistent) taglines. The findings suggest that diet-related advertisements and government policies should not be one-size-fits-all, but rather tailored to these individual differences. Overall, the Diet Balancing Scale represents a psychometrically sound tool for the measurement of diet-related self-beliefs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-157
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Business Research
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Advertising
  • Diet
  • Indulgence
  • Lay belief
  • Scale development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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