Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secretive food concocting: New characteristic of binge eating identified

Date:
January 3, 2013
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
A new study suggests food concocting -- the making of strange food mixtures like mashed potatoes and Oreo cookies, frozen vegetables mixed with mayonnaise, and chips with lemon, pork rinds, Italian dressing and salt -- is common among binge eaters. The findings reveal that 1 in 4 survey participants secretly create concoctions.

Researchers report that making odd food mixtures brings drug-like emotions to binge eaters, potentially hampering treatment of eating disorders.
Credit: © Okea / Fotolia

A study from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) suggests food concocting -- the making of strange food mixtures like mashed potatoes and Oreo cookies, frozen vegetables mixed with mayonnaise, and chips with lemon, pork rinds, Italian dressing and salt -- is common among binge eaters. The findings, available online and to be published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, reveal that 1 in 4 survey participants secretly create concoctions.

Related Articles


Investigators hope the survey and findings will help bring this oppressive behavior into the open to better understand and help the estimated 8 million people in the U.S. suffering from binge-eating disorders. UAB researchers investigated a behavior that had been anecdotally noted by eating disorder clinicians but never systematically investigated.

According to the study, people who concoct are more likely to binge eat than those who overeat without bingeing. Those who concoct reported the same emotions as drug users during the act; they also reported later feelings of shame and disgust, which could fuel an existing disorder.

Mary Boggiano, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology and primary investigator of the study, said study participants self-reported their emotions while concocting. The answers revealed a vast majority felt "excited" and "anxious" during the process.

"While they are food concocting and binge eating they report being excited, in a frenzy, and high, but afterwards they feel awful about themselves," said Boggiano.

According to Boggiano, the actual number of binge eaters who also practice food concocting is likely to be higher than that revealed in their survey.

"We found significant numbers in a non-clinical population," said Boggiano. "If the same survey was given to people in a hospital, clinical or psychiatric setting, they would certainly report higher levels."

Boggiano's team developed their study around the novel "famine hypothesis," theorizing that concocting would be linked to caloric deprivation. This was based on documented accounts of odd food concoctions created by victims of natural famine and POWs, as well as refugees during wartime food shortages.

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 behavior 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 behavior or consider that it may worsen eating disorders if linked to negative emotions.

In addition, patients may not disclose this behavior because of shame.

"Secrets can kill us," said Boggiano. "The more secretive a patient is with aspects of an addiction or eating disorder, the worse off he or she will be because they will continue to engage in their secret, maladaptive behavior."

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. The original article was written by Meghan Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mary M. Boggiano, Bulent Turan, Christine R. Maldonado, Kimberly D. Oswald, Ellen S. Shuman. Secretive food concocting in binge eating: Test of a famine hypothesis. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/eat.22077

Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Secretive food concocting: New characteristic of binge eating identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103130754.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2013, January 3). Secretive food concocting: New characteristic of binge eating identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103130754.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Secretive food concocting: New characteristic of binge eating identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103130754.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins