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Binge eating

There are a number of theories about what triggers binge eating but most agree that it is motivated by a desire to escape from self-awareness – i.e. a binge eater will eat excessive amounts of food as a pseudo distraction strategy from whatever is causing self esteem issues. Binge eaters tend to spiral when their perceptions of themselves get skewed and then self-abuse through food as a coping mechanism. The foods (usually high sugar, high fat foods) cause a sense of fullness and mimic a sense of control over the situation. Often the craving is for a sensation of fullness in the belly as a way to anchor themselves in light of the distress or it is as a way to flood their brain with a rush of tryptophan rich foods for increase serotonin to help lift their mood. Common triggers will be a feeling of being overwhelmed, overburdened by others or as a self-critical strategy when self-confidence has deteriorated. In that moment, a normal rational food relationship goes out the window. What is left is a child-like response to quickly control the ill feeling in any way possible. The quickest way to stay on track and curb behaviour is keep an honest journal of dietary intake and associated emotional triggers. Honesty is the key here.

Binge eaters are at greatest risk of depression, weight fluctuations/obesity and nutritional deficiencies. They are a classic example of overweight but nutritionally starved people and need to stabilize their nutritional status urgently.

The amino acid Tryptophan and its secondary product 5-HTP are the most researched and clinical effective prescriptions to address disordered eating, as they are the direct precursors to serotonin. Interesting research indicate that concurrent B vitamins are crucial for the effectiveness of this prescription. Other key nutrients include chromium, which regulates blood sugar levels, and weight balance. Deficiency signs are typically indicated by sugar cravings and mood related hypoglycaemia. Conversely, chocolate cravings indicate Magnesium deficiency, which are a key nutrient for brain chemistry stabilization and the release of feel-good serotonin.