UCSD out to curb binge eating
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – UC San Diego Health Sciences announced Thursday it is
embarking on a one-year study to try to reduce binge eating among obese people.
Organizers of the research will recruit 30 people to take part in weekly
sessions lasting 60 to 90 minutes, in which they will learn how food cravings
originate, how to detect and monitor true hunger, how emotional factors
influence eating habits and how to manage cravings and impulses to eat.
They said about 10 to 15 percent of obese Americans are binge eaters,
consuming large amounts of high-calorie foods at single sittings.
“Most weight-loss treatments for obese adults focus very little on the
reduction of binge eating,” said Kerri Boutelle, the principal investigator
and an associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the UCSD School
of Medicine. “With this study we use a variety of techniques to train the
brain to identify and respond to hunger and cravings and to learn resistance to
highly craved foods.”
She said binge eaters often consume food in response to their
environment, even when they are not hungry.
“This could be a response to watching TV, long commutes, sitting on the
couch, time of day, even loneliness,” said Boutelle, a licensed clinical
psychologist. “The goal is to reduce cravings to overeat by up to 50
Similar programs aimed at overweight youths have yielded promising
results and an ability to maintain reductions in binge eating at six and 12
months after treatment, she said.
Participants who join the study will be asked to complete interviews and
surveys before and after treatment groups. In addition, they will complete
food logs in which they will be asked to monitor levels of hunger and fullness
as well as cravings.