Rate of Eating Does Not Affect Binge Size in Bulimia Nervosa

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2006 Volume 17, Number 4
©2006 Gürze Books

One characteristic of bulimia nervosa (BN) is rapid eating, especially during an eating binge. In a recent controlled study at Columbia University, researchers found that binge size was not affected by eating rate among women with BN. In contrast, eating more rapidly did significantly increase the amount of intake among a group of healthy controls. Fifteen women with BN and 16 healthy control women were instructed to “binge eat” just before they consumed an ad libitum yogurt shake. All subjects ate two meals, one delivered at a fast rate (140 g/minute) and one at a slow rate (70 g/minute). Patients with BN ate significantly more than controls at both the rapid and slow meals. Women with BN ate a mean of 305 g more food than controls, whether they ate at a slow or fast pace. Ellen Zimmerli, PhD and her colleagues at Columbia University note that their results may have implications for current treatment approaches for patients with BN. That is, the behavioral strategy of training patients with BN to eat at a slow, constant rate may be ineffective. The researchers presented their findings at the International Conference on Eating Disorders in Barcelona, Spain, in June.

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