Weird Food Pairings Can Indicate Binge Eating Disorder

Scientists say that food preferences largely come from what foods we’re raised on.

But a new study from the University of Alabama suggests that those who enjoy strange food pairings–like Oreos and mashed potatoes or pork rinds and salad dressing–may actually have something deeper going on. Specifically, binge eating disorder.

The study

The study included 507 male and female college students and an extra 45 people who were currently being treated for eating disorders on an outpatient basis.

One in four study participants secretly used “concocting” behaviors when eating, and these students were found to be more likely to binge eat than their study peers.

Forty-one percent of the “concocters” said they prepared the strange mixes of food because of a craving, but only 9 percent said they concocted because they were hungry.

Binge eaters reported feelings of excitement and anxiety while preparing concoctions, which researchers say is similar to an addict’s response when getting drugs.


The study authors say that the number of concocters who are binge eaters is likely to be much higher than what the study actually found.

“If the same survey was given to people in a hospital, clinical or psychiatric setting, they would certainly report higher levels,” said study author Mary Boggiano.

The study participants who had concocting behaviors also reported shame and disgust following eating–a hallmark symptom of binge eating disorder.

“While they are food concocting and binge eating they report being excited, in a frenzy, and high, but afterwards they feel awful about themselves,” said Boggiano.

The study was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.


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