Binge eating disorder: hormones could be to blame for the food cravings
More and more people suffer from eating disorders. In addition to anorexia and bulimia, the so-called "binge eating disorder" (BES) is also very common. This leads to periodic food cravings. Affected people lose conscious control over their eating behavior. Hormones are apparently to blame, as researchers have now found out.
Eating disorders are increasing
There has been a dramatic increase in eating disorders in recent years. In particular, anorexia nervosa (anorexia) and bulimia nervosa (addiction to food) have increased significantly. But the so-called "binge eating disorder" (BES) is also on the rise. This leads to periodic food cravings with loss of conscious control over eating behavior. In contrast to bulimia, no countermeasures are taken afterwards, so that in the long term overweight is usually the result. Hormones are apparently to blame for the cravings, as researchers have now found out.
More appetite in the evening than in the morning
A study published in 2013 by scientists from Harvard University (USA) showed that our appetite is heavily dependent on the daily routine.
At the time, the researchers found that, paradoxically, people are least hungry in the morning, even though there is no food intake all night.
This work helped explain why so many people skip breakfast, although eating most of the calories early in the day is optimal for weight control and a healthy metabolism.
Evening Hunger "could have been an evolutionary adjustment that helped us get through the night," said Dr. Satchidananda Panda from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
in San Diego in a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC).
"For millions of years, the nocturnal period was a time when we had no access to food, and you couldn't get food when you woke up in the morning," said the expert.
In modern times, with easy access to food at any time of the day or night, this evolutionary adjustment can backfire and lead to loss of control and nocturnal binge eating.
Reason for nighttime cravings
Building on the results of the evening feeling of hunger at the time, researchers led by Susan Carnell from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Charlotte Grillot from Florida State University investigated the reason for nighttime food cravings.
Their study, which was published in the journal "Journal of Obesity", suggests that the satiety hormones (peptide YY) are lower in the evening, while the hunger hormones (ghrelin) increase in the evening.
Obese people with a binge eating disorder are particularly susceptible to the influence of fluctuations in appetite-regulating hormones.
In addition, it was shown that stress increased the feeling of hunger in all 32 overweight subjects.
"There are more ways to eat in the evening, but this study shows that hormonal responses make them do it," Carnell said.
According to the scientist, however, it is not clear whether these hormonal patterns precede the eating behavior of binge eating binge eating and cause it, or whether they are due to an individual's eating habits.
Kelly Costello Allison of the University of Pennsylvania said the current study - in which she was not involved - was an important reminder that countless factors contribute to weight gain.
And that shame and blame for weight gain are inappropriate.
"There are so many prejudices and judgments about people who are overweight that it is their fault or that they are lazy or simply do not have enough willpower," said Allison.
But a lot depends simply on biological circumstances.
According to Carnell, people who know that they tend to overeat in the evening and at night should take the time to eat properly during the day and set a "meal lock", i.e. a specific time in the evening who stop eating.
Allison agreed. "Determine a" kitchen is closed "time," advised the researcher. "Turn off the kitchen light, move away from the kitchen, brush your teeth, and if you want something after that, take water."
She and other experts found that hormone levels respond to eating habits and may be outwitted if people change their eating habits. (ad)