Binge eating is a big deal; first of all it’s not healthy 65% of people who binge are overweight and when it comes to women researchers now think they were born to binge–their brain–hard wired to eat.
Whitney Hollis agrees. Sort of.
“I don’t know about the word programmed,” Whitney said. “But I do notice in my experience women do tend to overeat more than men.”
That’s true; women are much more likely to have an eating disorder like binging. Researchers at Michigan State University tested 60 rats, half male half female. They replaced regular food pellets with vanilla frosting and guess what?
Female rats binged on the frosting at a rate 6 times higher than the male rats.
Therapist Charity Adams works with binge eaters all the time and she says most of them are women.
“We see a lot of women who come in and say I binge because of my emotions,” Adams continued. “I binge eat because I am stressed out because I have all of these other things going on and then I feel the guilt that comes from that.”
The theory was that women binge eat because of cultural pressures but rats don’t have pressures like that so why do they binge eat?
Researchers think maybe their brains are more sensitive to sugar and fat.
Adams said it’s probably a combination of the two.
“I think probably every aspect of mental health it is a combination of both, the environment you’re in so this the societal pressure as well as the genetic disposition that we all have to certain things,” Adams said.
Whitney said she’s binged on food a couple of times and was totally aware she was overeating.
“I guess a lot of it has a hormonal thing to do with it too,” Whitney said. “You know a lot of women will have that week where they eat whatever they want or crave all sorts of stuff.”
The rat study may someday shed light on better therapies or medicines to treat eating disorders in humans.
Until then women can feel better that maybe, just maybe they’re programmed to binge.
“I know sometimes myself,” Whitney said. “I will be really stuck and then I’ll fall off the wagon.”