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Obes Res. 1994 May;2(3):205-12.

Binge eating disorder affects outcome of comprehensive very-low-calorie diet treatment.

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  • 1Clinical Neuroendocrinology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


To determine the effects of binge eating disorder (BED) on weight loss and maintenance in women undergoing treatment for obesity, we studied the weight changes of 38 women (body mass index > 30 kg/m2), 21 of whom met proposed criteria for BED and 17 of whom reported few problems with binge eating, during and after a 26-week comprehensive very-low-calorie diet (VLCD) treatment program. All 17 subjects without and 16/21 subjects with BED returned for four follow-up visits over 12 months (p = 0.05). While a similar proportion of subjects with and without BED reported absolute adherence to both the modified fast and refeeding, those with BED showed a significantly different distribution in energy intake from those without BED, with fewer small and more large lapses among those who deviated from the diet (p < 0.05). There was no significant difference in mean weight loss over the 26 weeks of treatment, but subjects with BED showed significantly diminished weight loss during the middle third of treatment (p < 0.05). Black subjects, regardless of the presence of BED, lost significantly less weight during treatment than white subjects (p < 0.005). Although there was no significant difference in mean weight loss at any of the four follow-up visits between subjects with and without BED, 25% of subjects with BED had regained > 50% of their lost weight by three-month follow-up, vs. no subjects without the disorder (p < 0.05). One year after completing treatment, approximately half of BED (+) and BED (-) subjects had a good outcome, maintaining a weight loss > or = 10% of initial body weight. However, 35% of subjects with BED, and none of the subjects without BED, had a poor outcome (p < 0.05). We conclude that many individuals with BED will respond well to a medically supervised comprehensive VLCD program, attaining medically significant weight loss. However, this subgroup appears to be at risk for early major regain of lost weight and for poor outcome one year following weight-loss treatment.

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