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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.
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    Thanks for the info.
    2793 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Very interesting. I think I'm definitely an uncontrolled eater. I hadn't thought about the difference from emotional eating before. Thank you for the information.
    2794 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3876543
    Very interesting blog. I'm an uncontrolled emotional eater - in other words, I binge when my life is out of control, I'm stressed, upset, afraid, hurt, etc. So I'm kind of a combination...Anyway, great blog. Thanks.
    2795 days ago
    Interesting. Food for thought?
    2795 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13354694
    emoticon emoticon
    This is some great info...I deal with both and agree with Tina; that once I start it's hard to stop. I am working on both emotional/uncontrolled eating...
    emoticon emoticon
    2795 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    Great information. Thanks for sharing! emoticon
    2795 days ago
  • STHAX10
    Thanks for sharing!
    2795 days ago
    2795 days ago
    Your blog is interesting. I never thought of it that way.

    Congrats on your weight loss success!!

    2795 days ago
    I completely agree with this because I've personally been both an emotional eater and an uncontrolled eater. I've learned to identify which demon I'm dealing with when the urge to overeat strikes and have to respond to them in different ways, like you mentioned. The emotional eater in me needs non-food related coping skills and the uncontrolled eater needs better food choices (which is something I've had to and still experiment with) to keep me physically satisfied longer and prevent the uncontrolled eating from starting in the first place. The one thing both of these things have in common for me is that once I give into either one of them, it's hard to stop before doing quite a bit of damage.
    2795 days ago
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