Laboratory studies have shown considerable differences between the eating behavior, particularly binge eating behavior, of participants with and without binge eating disorder (BED). However, these findings were not replicated in two field experiments employing ecological momentary assessment (EMA) in which obese BED and obese non-BED participants reported comparable binge eating behavior. In the current study, we examined differences in binge eating with an innovative assessment scheme employing both EMA and a standardized computer-based dietary recall program to avoid some of the limitations of past laboratory and field research. Obese BED, obese non-BED, and non-obese control participants reported significant differences in eating patterns, loss of control, overeating, and binge eating behavior. Of particular importance was the finding that BED participants engaged in more overeating and more binge eating episodes than non-BED participants. These findings suggest that the use of EMA in combination with dietary recall may be a relatively objective and useful approach to assessing binge eating behavior. The findings further suggest that individuals with BED are observably different from those without the disorder, which may have implications for eating disorder diagnoses in DSM-V.
- Binge eating
- Binge eating disorder
- Ecological momentary assessment