Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Science


Nutrition and Food Sciences

First Advisor

Kathleen Melanson


Objective: To investigate the differences in the frequency and intensity of food cravings between animal- and plant-based consumers as well as the association between habitual intake of dietary fibers, animal and plant protein, and food cravings. Methods: An online cross-sectional study collected data from adult ( 18 years) animal- and plant-based consumers from March 2020 to January 2022. Participants completed a Qualtrics eligibility questionnaire self-identifying their dietary pattern and weekly frequency of meat, seafood, dairy, egg, and honey consumption. Eligible participants (non-smoking, not pregnant, no fiber supplementation, no chronic disease) were invited via e-mail to complete a Dietary History Questionnaire, measuring the previous 3 months of dietary intake, and calculating the Healthy Eating Index total score, as well as the Food Craving Questionnaire Trait-reduced, measuring general trait food cravings. Participants were re-categorized into an animal and plant protein group based on the median value for animal and plant protein intake (grams), due to inaccuracies in self-identification. Analysis of covariance was used for the primary analyses, controlling for race, diet quality and total energy intake and multiple linear regression was used for the secondary and tertiary analyses, controlling for race and diet quality. Results: The sample (n=98) was primarily healthy, adult (28.1 ± 11.2 y) white (84.9%), females (82.7%). There were no differences between the animal (37.3 ± 12.4) and plant protein group (35.6 ± 11.3) for total food cravings (p=0.30). There were no associations observed between energy (% kilocalories) from total protein (ß = -0.06, r2=0.10, p=0.52), animal (ß= -0.03, r2=0.10, p=0.72) or plant protein (ß =-0.17, r2=0.11, p<0.19) and food cravings. Dietary fibers (g/1000 kcal) were inversely associated with food cravings (ß = -0.32, r2=0.14, p =0.04) Implications: These hypotheses-generating analyses underscore the relevance of diet quality, race, and intake of dietary fibers to food cravings frequency and intensity.



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