Effect of eating rate on binge size in Bulimia Nervosa

Harry R Kissileff, Ellen J Zimmerli, Migdalia I Torres, Michael J Devlin, B Timothy Walsh
Physiology & Behavior 2008 February 27, 93 (3): 481-5
Bulimia Nervosa (BN) is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating. During binge eating episodes, patients often describe the rapid consumption of food, and laboratory studies have shown that during binges patients with BN eat faster than normal controls (NC), but the hypothesis that a rapid rate of eating contributes to the excessive intake of binge meals has not yet been experimentally tested. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of eating rate on binge size in BN, in order to determine whether binge size is mediated, in part, by rate of eating. Thirteen BN and 14 NC subjects were asked to binge eat a yogurt shake that was served at a fast rate (140 g/min) on one occasion and at a slow rate (70 g/min) on another. NC subjects consumed 169 g more when eating at the fast rate than when eating at the slow rate. In contrast, consumption rates failed to influence binge size in patients with BN (fast: 1205 g; slow: 1195 g). Consequently, there was a significant group by rate interaction. As expected, patients with BN consumed more overall than NC subjects (1200 g vs. 740 g). When instructed to binge in the eating laboratory, patients with BN ate equally large amounts of food at a slow rate as at a fast rate. NC subjects ate less at a slow rate. These findings indicate that in a structured laboratory meal paradigm binge size is not affected by rate of eating.

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