Research about intuitive eating was sparse in the 90s, but the more people experience success, the more the scientists are taking notice, and in the recent years, we are seeing significant research confirming intuitive eating works. Following are some of the key earlier studies, plus other article relevant to intuitive eating.
Stop Using Food as a Proxy for Moral Virtue - “…the healthiest thing any of us could do would be to refrain from casting food choices as definitive evidence of moral character or necessary determinants of vitality.”
Intuitive Eaters Have Lower BMIs - Women who accept their bodies and eat intuitively have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who diet due to body dissatisfaction. 8/06
Intuitive Eaters Have Higher Self Esteem - This same research, published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, also indicated that intuitive eaters have higher self esteem, are more optimistic and have better coping abilities. 8/06
Again, Lower BMIs for Intuitive Eaters - Intuitive eaters had more pleasure and enjoyment when eating, lower BMI scores, fewer dieting behaviors and less anxiety. American Journal of Health Promotion, May/June 2006.
Those Eating Intuitively Have Significantly Improved Health - No surprise that this improved health was accomplished without significant weight loss, since much research shows health can be improved without weight loss. Restrained eaters initially lost weight, but at one year follow-up, had regained all the weight they had lost, and showed no health improvements. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 2005 Jun;105(6):929-36.
Compare the above to this:
More Proof That Getting Off That Diet Will Help Your Weight and Eating - Those who diet are three times more likely to become overweight--even if that dieting is simply "eating healthy with the intent to lose weight"!!!!! Moving away from dieting actually decreases risk of obesity and eating disorders. Journal of the American Dietetic Association; 2006 Apr;106:559-68.
Evelyn Tribole, author of the highly recommended book, Intuitive Eating, keeps an extensive up-to-date listing of all the research, including brief discussions of each. Make sure to check it out.