New characteristic of binge eating identified
Consistent with this hypothesis, the UAB team found that while food concocting is more prevalent in binge eaters, it is dietary restraint — or food deprivation — that uniquely accounted for the pervasiveness of concocting.
The research team looked at why people practice food concocting. The majority, 41.2 percent of those who concocted, said the behaviour was due to a craving. Only 9 percent reported hunger as a motive.
Boggiano said that is not surprising because most binges occur after a normal meal, when sated, and may be part of the "loss of control" criterion of binge eating. Her previous research showed that having a history of dieting, regardless of hunger, led to binge eating when a preferred food was available.
Boggiano believes food concocting has never been studied scientifically because nobody has thought to quantify the behaviour or consider that it may worsen eating disorders if linked to negative emotions.
In addition, patients may not disclose this behaviour because of shame.
The food concocting study surveyed 507 students from UAB and the University of Texas at El Paso enrolled in Psychology 101 classes, along with 45 clients seeking outpatient treatment for eating disorders in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The sample included males and females and was 45.5 percent non-Hispanic White, 40 percent Hispanic and 10 percent African-American. There was no difference in concocting susceptibility between sexes or ethnicities.
The study has been published online in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.
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