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People Who Make Strange Food Combinations More Likely to Binge Eat

Update Date: Jan 08, 2013 11:17 AM EST

A new study suggests that people who strange mixtures while preparing food like mashed potatoes and Oreo cookies are more likely to be binge eaters.

According to the study by researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, their findings also reveal that people who create such odd food combinations are more likely to be binge eaters and not just overeaters.

The researchers further say that their findings could help in a better understanding of this eating disorder, in which people are ashamed of and hide their behavior.

"Secrets can kill us," study investigator Mary Boggiano, an associate professor in the department of psychology, said in a university news release. "The more secretive a patient is with aspects of an addiction or eating disorder, the worse off he or she will be because they will continue to engage in their secret, maladaptive behavior."

For the study, the researchers analyzed and observed 507 male and female psychology students, along with 45 people being treated on an outpatient basis for eating disorders.

Among the participants, one of four participants secretly engaged in "concocting," regardless of their gender or ethnicity. However, the study authors noted that the real number of people who engage in concocting could be much higher than what is reported.

"We found significant numbers in a nonclinical population," Boggiano explained. "If the same survey was given to people in a hospital, clinical or psychiatric setting, they would certainly report higher levels."

It was found that 41 percent of those who concocted did so due to while only 9 percent reportedly did so because of hunger.

According to the researchers, the findings of the study do not come as a surprise since most binges take place following a meal. Also, most binge eaters said they felt "excited" and "anxious" while they were preparing their food concoctions, the report said.

The researchers further say, these emotions resemble those reported by drug addicts while they are using them. Like drug abuse, even after concocting, the binge eaters apparently reported feeling shame and disgust.

"While they are food concocting and binge eating they report being excited, in a frenzy, and high, but afterwards they feel awful about themselves," said Boggiano.

The study was published online recently in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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