Is your body shape making you binge?
Are you more of an apple than a pear? It may be contributing to your binge-eating habit.
New research from Drexel University found that women with apple-shaped bodies (storing more fat around your trunk or stomach area) may be at a higher risk of having eating experiences where they feel a sense of “loss of control”.
The study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found women with greater fat stored around their mid-sections tend to feel less satisfied with their bodies, which experts suspect may contribute to the overeating.
“Our preliminary findings reveal that centralised fat distribution may be an important risk factor for the development of eating disturbance, specifically for loss-of-control eating,” said lead study author Laura Berner.
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“This suggests that targeting individuals who store more of their fat in the midsection and adapting psychological interventions to focus specifically on body fat distribution could be beneficial for prevention eating disorders.”
Study authors examined 300 young adult women over 24 months, looking at weight, height and total body fat percentage and where it’s distributed. While none met diagnostic criteria for eating disorders at the start of the study, they were assessed for disordered eating behaviours throughout.
Women with greater central fat stores, separate from total body mass or depression levels, were more likely to have loss-of-control eating behaviours, and this steadily increased over time. While researchers say more study needs to be done, they speculate there may be a few factors at play.
“It’s possible that this kind of fat distribution is not only psychologically distressing, but biologically influential through alterations in hunger and satiety signalling,” said Berner. “Fat cells release signals to the brain that influence how hungry or satiated we feel.” Her study didn’t examine hunger hormones, but she says “it’s possible that if a centralised distribution of fat alters the hunger and satiety messages it sense, it could make a person feel out of control while eating."
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