A collaboration between Italian and Spanish researchers has uncovered a possible relationship between binge eating disorder and adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
It is not well know what causes binge eating disorders, though it is understood to be related to mental illness and the compulsive need to eat without actually being hungry.
Studies focusing on the Mediterranean diet have shown that consumption may be related to a possible decreased risk of certain mental illnesses, including depression and anxiety, though until recently, there have been no studies examining possible connections between Mediterranean diet adherence and mental illness related to binge eating.
One recent study looked at a group of individuals at risk of developing binge eating disorders (1472 participants total) and asked them questions about their diet. The answers to these surveys resulted in an adherence to the Mediterranean Diet score for each participant. Questionnaires related to binge eating, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and total body fat were also given to participants to complete.
- After adjusting for age, gender, nutritional status, education, and physical activity levels, those with greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet had a lower risk of developing binge eating disorder.
- Consumption of olive oil and nuts were associated with lower risk of developing binge eating disorder.
- Consumption of butter, cream, sweets, bakery goods, cakes, etc, were associated with a higher risk of developing binge eating disorder.
- No effect of depression and anxiety was found on the adherence to Mediterranean diet levels in binge eaters.
In general, these results indicate that for those individuals who are at risk for developing binge eating disorders, a greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet actually LOWERS their risk, whereas eating greater quantities of sweets, butter, cream, etc, raised their risk of developing the disorder.
Bertoli, S., Spadafranca, A., Bes-Rastrollo, M., Martinez-Gonzalez, M.A., Ponissi, V., Beggio, V., Leone, A., Battezati, A. 2014. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is inversely related to binge eating disorder in patients seeking a weight loss program. Clinical Nutrition. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clnu.2014.02.001.