The doughnut study brings up the subject of what foods are considered binge foods. Since the type of food eaten does not determine a binge, any food can qualify as long as you eat an unusually large amount and experience a sense of loss of control. The following comments from Rose, a 43-year-old attorney from New York City, illustrate this point.
I can binge on just about anything. In fact, I know when my weight-loss program is in trouble when I begin to eat too much fruit. Whoever thought about bingeing on fruit? In fact, I had a dietitian tell me not to worry because fruit is a healthy choice and the more fruits and vegetables in my diet, the better. However, when I binge on fruit I can eat four or five apples or bananas and feel totally out of control. I'm upset more by the feeling it gives me than by what I'm eating. Once I start to binge on fruit, then cookies, ice cream, and candy bars aren't far behind.
In fact, Rose's fruit binges served as a warning to her that she needed help. They allowed her to take action, to call me for a booster session, before her binge eating spread to high-fat, high-calorie foods and ruined her efforts at losing weight.
Rose's experience is probably not typical since most people with binge-eating disorder binge on high-fat, high-carbohydrate foods. Typically, women have more of a tendency to crave foods that are high in fat and sugar such as cakes, candy, and ice cream. Men seem to crave high-fat, high-protein foods such as steak, cheese, and butter. These gender differences are certainly not absolute and you may find that you crave both categories of foods.