I think... both.
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Today I was researching my next Maintenance FANS post on disinhibited eating, and came across a twin study that found an interesting difference between uncontrolled eating and emotional eating. I hadn't ever thought of the two as different. It seemed to me that you either have a physical reason to eat or you don't, and either you were aware of being sad or suppressing some other emotional deal.
But it turns out that people who rated as emotional eaters (in an international twin study) had a liking for sweet fatty foods. People who rated high as uncontrolled eaters had a liking for salty fatty foods. That really surprised me.
Earlier today I posted a status that it seemed like emotional eaters start eating for non physical reasons, and uncontrolled eaters keep eating for non physical reasons. That's not entirely the case. I was able to track down a three factor questionnaire (De Lauzon et al. 2004) and the difference was more about emotional eaters eating to sooth, while uncontrolled eaters confound hunger with appetite, craving, and other stuff we don't necessarily have a single word for. In that arena, today I learned Finnish lacks a word meaning "dislike".
I excitedly explained this to my husband and he said "But I like sweet and salty fatty foods." That's probably the case for a lot of people who struggle with obesity. My guess is that different behavioral skill sets would deal with the two. Emotional eating would call for emotional regulation and finding other ways of coping besides food, while uncontrolled eating (bingeing) would call for cognitive behavioral change along the lines of understanding different cues to eat. I even think eating healthier foods with appropriate fat content, protein and fiber might help. Though the conclusion of that study was that clinicians should consider behavioral management more than diet in dealing with obesity.
I would link to my blog, but apparently all my cool blogs don't have space between the paragraphs so it looks like a Dr. Bronner's soap label.