It’s long been known that people with Binge-Eating Disorder are more likely to have an addiction than the general public. But a new study shows that overweight or obese people with BED are no more likely to have an addiction than overweight or obese people without BED – suggesting that any greater risk of addiction may have more to do with being overweight in general than with a binge pattern of eating.
“[T]here was no significant difference between overweight/obese individuals with and without BED regarding their use of addictive behaviors, although both groups had significantly higher scores than the normal-weight control group,” the study concluded.
“These findings may imply that addictive behaviors are linked to elevated BMI – and thereby to sustained overconsumption relative to energy expenditure – irrespective of the pattern of overeating.”
In the past, there has been some speculation that binge-easting may be a type of “food addiction,” and that its brain chemistry may be similar to that involved in other types of substance abuse. This study doesn’t refute that theory, but it does suggest that the relationship is complicated. For instance, just as some alcoholics binge-drink and some drink the same amount each day, “food addiction” (if it exists) may follow a similar pattern.