Too Much Binge Eating

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The most common eating disorder may not be what you think it is. More people have a problem with binge eating than any other eating disorder, including anorexia and bulimia, although it's not as recognized. The disorder isn't characterized by being able to eat a lot, having a healthy appetite or savoring a big meal once in awhile. It's estimated that 2 percent of Americans suffer from the disorder; 10 to 15 percent of mildly obese people who frequently diet or try commercial weight loss are binge eaters, and that number increases among people who are severely obese.

But "normal-sized" people can be binge eaters, too. There's no clear cause of binge eating, but depression and anxiety seem to be linked to it. Symptoms of binge eating include: eating large volumes of food quickly, eating until uncomfortably full, eating alone and eating when not hungry. Binge eaters may keep their behavior well-hidden from loved ones, much like bulimics. However, it differs from bulimia, because there is no purging action after the binge - bulimics either vomit, take laxatives or exercise strenuously after binges.