Preliminary studies of non-clinical samples suggest that purposely attempting to avoid thoughts of food, referred to as food thought suppression, is related to a number of unwanted eating- and weight-related consequences, particularly in obese individuals. Despite possible implications for the treatment of obesity and eating disorders, little research has examined food thought suppression in obese individuals with binge eating disorder (BED). This study compared food thought suppression in 60 obese patients with BED to an age-, gender-, and body mass index (BMI)-matched group of 59 obese persons who do not binge eat (NBO). In addition, this study examined the associations between food thought suppression and eating disorder psychopathology within the BED and NBO groups and separately by gender. Participants with BED and women endorsed the highest levels of food thought suppression. Food thought suppression was significantly and positively associated with many features of ED psychopathology in NBO women and with eating concerns in men with BED. Among women with BED, higher levels of food thought suppression were associated with higher frequency of binge eating, whereas among men with BED, higher levels of food thought suppression were associated with lower frequency of binge eating. Our findings suggest gender differences in the potential significance of food thought suppression in obese groups with and without co-existing binge eating problems.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study was supported, in part, by grants from the National Institutes of Health (K24 DK070052 and R01 DK49587). No additional funding was received for the completion of this work.
- Binge eating
- Eating disorder
- Food thought suppression