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Of 190 million obese Americans, approximately 10-15 percent engage in harmful binge eating. During single sittings, these over-eaters consume large servings of high-caloric foods. Sufferers contend with weight gain and depression including heart disease and diabetes. A new clinical trial, called Regulation of Food Cues, at UC San Diego Health System, aims to treat binge eating by helping participants to identify real hunger and to practice resistance if the stomach is full.
The one-year study will recruit 30 participants who will undergo weekly 60–90 minute sessions held over 12 weeks. Participants will learn how food cravings originate, how to detect and monitor true hunger, how emotional factors influence eating habits, and how to manage cravings and impulses to eat.
“Binge eaters often consume food in response to their environment, even when they are not hungry. This could be a response to watching TV, long commutes, sitting on the couch, time of day, even loneliness,” said Boutelle, who is also a licensed clinical psychologist. “The goal is to reduce cravings to overeat by up to 50 percent.”
Similar programs aimed at overweight youths have yielded promising results and an ability to maintain reductions in binge eating at six and 12 months after treatment.
Participants who join the study will be asked to complete interviews and surveys before and after treatment groups. In addition, they will complete food logs in which they will be asked to monitor levels of hunger and fullness as well as cravings.
To learn more about this clinical trial, please call 858-405-0263.
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