Linear eaters turned decelerated: Reduction of a risk for disordered eating?

Karolinska Institutet, Section of Applied Neuroendocrinology, NVS, Mandometer and Mandolean Clinics, AB Mando, Novum, Huddinge S-141 57, Sweden.
Physiology & Behavior (Impact Factor: 2.98). 03/2009; 96(4-5):518-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2008.11.017
Source: PubMed


It has been suggested that restrained eating is a cognitive strategy that an individual uses for control of food intake. If losing control, the restrained eater enters a state of disinhibition and is therefore thought to be at risk for developing eating disorders and obesity. Restrained eaters eat at a constant rate and can therefore also be referred to as linear eaters. Here, we have tested the hypothesis that restrained eating is a state that can be modified by teaching linear eaters to eat at a decelerated rate. Seventeen female linear eaters scored high on a scale for restrained eating. When challenged to eat at an increased rate, a test of disinhibition, the women overate by 16% on average. The women then practiced eating at a decelerated rate by use of feedback from a training curve displayed on a computer screen during the meals. The training occurred three times each week and lasted eight weeks. When re-tested in the absence of feedback, the women ate at a decelerated rate, they did not overeat in the test of disinhibition and they scored lower on the scale for restrained eating. It is suggested that restrained eating is a state that can be reduced by training.

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Available from: Modjtaba Zandian, Dec 16, 2013
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    • "The more negative the value of k, the better the compensation for a brief period of fasting (Figure 1A). Dieting increases the value of k and as k → 0, i.e., as the speed of eating becomes constant, women are less able to adapt their food intake to challenges such as having to eat slowly, they actually eat less food yet experience a higher level of satiety , thereby approaching the anorexic pattern of eating (Zandian et al., 2009). And when experimentally challenged to eat quickly, they approach the behavior of patients with Binge Eating Disorder (Figure 1B; Ioakimidis et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Brainstem and hypothalamic "orexigenic/anorexigenic" networks are thought to maintain body weight homeostasis in response to hormonal and metabolic feedback from peripheral sites. This approach has not been successful in managing over-and underweight patients. It is suggested that concept of homeostasis has been misinterpreted; rather than exerting control, the brain permits eating in proportion to the amount of physical activity necessary to obtain food. In support, animal experiments have shown that while a hypothalamic "orexigen" excites eating when food is abundant, it inhibits eating and stimulates foraging when food is in short supply. As the physical price of food approaches zero, eating and body weight increase without constraints. Conversely, in anorexia nervosa body weight is homeostatically regulated, the high level of physical activity in anorexia is displaced hoarding for food that keeps body weight constantly low. A treatment based on this point of view, providing patients with computerized mealtime support to re-establish normal eating behavior, has brought 75% of patients with eating disorders into remission, reduced the rate of relapse to 10%, and eliminated mortality.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Frontiers in Neuroscience
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    • "During control meals, the speed of eating decreased over the course of the meal in a similar way in girls and boys. This decelerated pattern of eating decreases with age in girls, but not boys [3,14,18,22] and young women tend to eat with a constant speed, i.e., assuming a linear pattern of eating which puts them at risk of eating too much when challenged to eat quickly [2,4,23]. Being compelled to eat the school lunch too quickly may further increase this risk. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Speed of eating, an important aspect of eating behaviour, has recently been related to loss of control of food intake and obesity. Very little time is allocated for lunch at school and thus children may consume food more quickly and food intake may therefore be affected. Study 1 measured the time spent eating lunch in a large group of students eating together for school meals. Study 2 measured the speed of eating and the amount of food eaten in individual school children during normal school lunches and then examined the effect of experimentally increasing or decreasing the speed of eating on total food intake. Methods The time spent eating lunch was measured with a stop watch in 100 children in secondary school. A more detailed study of eating behaviour was then undertaken in 30 secondary school children (18 girls). The amount of food eaten at lunch was recorded by a hidden scale when the children ate amongst their peers and by a scale connected to a computer when they ate individually. When eating individually, feedback on how quickly to eat was visible on the computer screen. The speed of eating could therefore be increased or decreased experimentally using this visual feedback and the total amount of food eaten measured. Results In general, the children spent very little time eating their lunch. The 100 children in Study 1 spent on average (SD) just 7 (0.8) minutes eating lunch. The girls in Study 2 consumed their lunch in 5.6 (1.2) minutes and the boys ate theirs in only 6.8 (1.3) minutes. Eating with peers markedly distorted the amount of food eaten for lunch; only two girls and one boy maintained their food intake at the level observed when the children ate individually without external influences (258 (38) g in girls and 289 (73) g in boys). Nine girls ate on average 33% less food and seven girls ate 23% more food whilst the remaining boys ate 26% more food. The average speed of eating during school lunches amongst groups increased to 183 (53)% in the girls and to 166 (47)% in the boys compared to the speed of eating in the unrestricted condition. These apparent changes in food intake during school lunches could be replicated by experimentally increasing the speed of eating when the children were eating individually. Conclusions If insufficient time is allocated for consuming school lunches, compensatory increased speed of eating puts children at risk of losing control over food intake and in many cases over-eating. Public health initiatives to increase the time available for school meals might prove a relatively easy way to reduce excess food intake at school and enable children to eat more healthily.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · BMC Public Health
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    • ". Prolonged food restriction in men, however, also increases the linearity of eating [25] and men who are being starved also develop the symptoms of anorexia [26]. Because we have previously found that experimental reduction of the speed of eating decreases food intake in linear eaters [3] [4] [5], these observations support our hypothesis that linear eating, particularly if combined with dieting, is a risk factor for the development of the pattern of eating typical of patients with anorexia. Although there are sex differences in the response to fasting (e.g., free fatty acids, glucose, amino acids, gonadotrophins, corticotrophin and leptin [27–35]), none of these agents can be clearly related to the sex difference in eating behavior found in the present study. "
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    ABSTRACT: We determined whether women and men would alter their pattern of food intake after they had deprived themselves of food. We found that women consumed 12% less food after fasting and that men ate 28% more food after fasting. Serving more food on the test day did not increase food intake of women. Women, who ate at a nearly constant rate (linear eaters), consumed less food than those eating at an initially high speed which decreased over the course of the meal (decelerated eaters). Women decreased their food intake after fasting as their eating pattern became more linear. After fasting, men increased their food intake, and the rate at which they ate became more decelerated. Food intake of both women and men was normalized after fasting by providing feedback that encouraged them to eat according to the pattern they showed in the non-fasted condition. The results support the hypothesis that linear eating, and the dieting that elicits linear eating, are risk factors for the development of the abnormal linear eating pattern that characterizes patients with anorexia nervosa. The data also provide additional support for the use of behavioral feedback to normalize the pattern of eating for individuals who have difficulty maintaining their body weight.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Physiology & Behavior
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