Binge eating can affect your heart health. Tips to manage binge eating disorder | Health - Hindustan Times

Binge eating can affect your heart health. Here are tips to manage binge eating disorder

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Oct 20, 2023 01:30 PM IST

Health expert shares simple strategies to get rid of binge eating disorder to improve your heart health

Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is a behavioural condition characterised by persistent and compulsive overeating where while occasional overindulgence in food is a normal occurrence, an eating disorder like BED is a daily struggle. It can feel overwhelming, impacting your mental, emotional and physical well-being.

Binge eating can affect your heart health. Here are tips to manage binge eating disorder (Unsplash)
Binge eating can affect your heart health. Here are tips to manage binge eating disorder (Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, DT Sushma PS, Jindal Naturecure Institute, explained, “Binge eating involves the consumption of large quantities of food within a short span, often with a feeling of being unable to stop. Typically, Binge Eating Disorder manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood. During a binge, you may eat even when not experiencing hunger and this may persist well beyond the point of fullness. In some cases, the binge happens so rapidly that you scarcely register what you are consuming or tasting.”

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She added, “Unlike bulimia, there are no subsequent attempts to compensate for the binge through methods like vomiting, fasting, or excessive exercise. Studies conducted among Indian school children have revealed that problematic eating attitudes and behaviors impact approximately 25 to 40 percent of adolescent girls, as well as around 20 percent of adolescent boys.”

The impact of Binge Eating on Heart Health

DT Sushma PS, revealed, “Binge eating poses a twofold threat to heart health. Firstly, it often leads to significant weight gain. Carrying excess weight increases the risk of heart disease. Individuals who are overweight are more prone to developing conditions like high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and increased triglyceride levels, all of which elevate the likelihood of experiencing a heart attack, as noted by NEDA. Secondly, when binge eating involves the consumption of unhealthy junk foods—such as chips, fried items, candy, or sweets—it further jeopardises heart health due to their high content of trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. These elements can have detrimental effects on your cardiovascular system.”

Strategies to Get Rid of Binge Eating Disorder

According to DT Sushma PS, numerous approaches can be employed to minimise episodes of binge eating. Here are some tips by her:

  • Abandon Restrictive Diets

Research indicates that fad diets can be detrimental, potentially leading to episodes of binge eating. For instance, a study involving 496 adolescent girls revealed that fasting was linked to an increased risk of binge eating.

Rather than adhering to diets that advocate for the complete elimination of food groups or drastic calorie restriction for rapid weight loss, prioritise making wholesome adjustments. Incorporate more unprocessed, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and manage your consumption of indulgent treats instead of completely eliminating them from your diet. This approach can contribute to a reduction in binge eating episodes and promote overall well-being.

  • Embrace Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice centered on tuning into your body's signals and being attuned to your current state of being. This technique serves as a powerful tool in preventing overeating by enabling individuals to discern when they are no longer genuinely hungry. In fact, a comprehensive review of 14 studies demonstrated that engaging in mindfulness meditation effectively reduced the occurrence of binge eating and emotional eating.

Take the time to listen to your body, being mindful of when your hunger naturally diminishes. Furthermore, savor your meals by eating slowly, fostering a healthy approach to eating. This practice encourages more mindful and balanced consumption.

  • Steer Clear of Meal Skipping

Establishing a consistent eating routine and adhering to it stands as a potent strategy in conquering binge eating. Skipping meals can lead to heightened cravings and elevate the likelihood of overindulgence. A concise two-month study demonstrated that consuming a single large meal per day amplified blood sugar levels and the hunger-triggering hormone ghrelin more significantly compared to having three regular meals.

Set a steady eating schedule and strive to stick to it. This approach helps regulate hunger levels and reduces the risk of impulsive overeating.

  • Embrace the Ancient Practice of Yoga

Yoga is a holistic discipline that engages both the body and mind through a combination of specialized breathing techniques, postures, and meditation to alleviate stress and promote relaxation. Studies affirm that incorporating yoga into one's routine can foster mindful eating habits and mitigate the likelihood of resorting to emotional eating.

Further research indicates that engaging in yoga can reduce levels of stress-inducing hormones, like cortisol, helping to manage stress and curb binge eating tendencies. Consider joining a nearby Yoga studio to integrate this beneficial practice into your routine. Alternatively, you can utilise online resources and videos for at-home practice.

  • Prioritise Fiber Intake

Fiber is a slow-moving component in your digestive system, imparting a prolonged feeling of fullness. Scientific studies propose that augmenting your fiber intake might lead to a reduction in cravings, diminished appetite, and ultimately, lower overall food consumption.

An experiment involving 10 adults revealed that a daily intake of 16 grams of prebiotic fiber elevated the levels of certain satiety-influencing hormones and notably lessened sensations of hunger. Incorporating fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains into your diet can contribute to sustained feelings of fullness.

  • Prioritise Adequate Sleep

The quality of your sleep directly impacts your appetite and hunger levels and a lack of sufficient sleep may be associated with episodes of binge eating. In fact, a study involving 146 individuals discovered that those with binge eating disorder exhibited notably more signs of insomnia compared to those without a history of the condition.

Furthermore, sleeping less than 8 hours per night was correlated with higher body weight. Strive for a minimum of 8 hours of sleep each night to help regulate your appetite and lower the likelihood of experiencing episodes of binge eating.

DT Sushma PS concluded, “By prioritising mental well-being through mindfulness practices, embracing a balanced diet rich in fiber, and nurturing healthy sleep habits, you can take crucial steps towards regaining control over your relationship with food. Additionally, incorporating yoga and steering clear of restrictive diets can further fortify your path to recovery. Remember, progress may take time, so be patient and kind to yourself throughout this transformative process. With commitment and perseverance, you can achieve lasting positive change in your approach to eating and overall well-being.”

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