Do women experience binge eating with loss of control?
With stress and other negative emotions, women seem more likely than men to eat unhealthy foods and fast foods.
The latest study by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne found that women are more likely to eat unhealthy foods when they have negative emotions. The results of the study will be presented at this year's Australasian Neuroscience Society scientific meeting.
Female mice ate more sugary foods when stressed
In the study, the Australian researchers were able to find that female mice were more likely to eat sugary unhealthy foods when they had negative emotions than they were in male mice. However, this response has not been attributed to female hormones.
Female mice showed so-called binge eating
The female brain appears to be more susceptible to emotional triggers that lead to excessive consumption of food. In experiments on laboratory mice, it was observed that female mice started with so-called binge eating (binge eating with loss of control) under emotional stress. There was no such behavior in male mice.
Behavior seems to be triggered by the female brain
Since the removal of the ovaries in female mice has no influence on this observed eating behavior, it is assumed that the behavior is controlled by the female brain. The results of the investigation give hope for improved treatment of overweight and obese people.
Which area of the brain triggers the behavior?
It is known that emotional eating behavior can occur in both sexes. Such unhealthy eating habits seem to be more common in women. Further research is now being carried out by the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health to determine exactly which area of the brain is responsible for the stress-related excessive eating behavior.
Further research is needed
“We are now investigating this important health area through further research that deals with what happens in the brain during stress-related binge eating and what exactly causes this behavior,” says study author Dr. Robyn Brown of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in a press release.
Animals often stop eating when stressed
While it has been known for a long time that women suffer more from emotional eating than men, there have been no good animal models to investigate to understand why this happens. Because most animals stop eating when they feel stressed.
How were negative emotions triggered in the animals?
In the current study, negative emotions were triggered in mice by placing sugary foods in the cage within sight, but were inaccessible to the animals. Finally, the mice were allowed access to the food for 15 minutes while their response was monitored.
Male mice did not change their eating behavior
Male mice ate the food, but showed no binge eating behavior. However, some of the female mice ate as much food as they normally did all day in just 15 minutes. The brains of the female mice reacted differently to emotional experiences, which can trigger binge eating.
Increased weight is not always due to self-control
The results of the current investigation can help to correct the widespread notion that people who overeat can simply not control themselves. (as)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.