How is Binge Eating Really Harming You?

Some of the effects of the eating disorder can last a lifetime

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Overeating once or twice around the holidays will not have an effect on your health; you won’t even gain weight. But consistently eating a lot of food in a short time will leave you with more than a sore and bloated stomach. In fact, some of the problems that come as a result of binge eating can last forever.

You may know – but have not realized it yet – people with the disorder. Most are ashamed of their problem and have become experts at hiding it. The condition is the most common eating disorder in the country – 3.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men have it.

Symptoms include consuming huge amounts of food in an hour or two, feeling like you can’t stop, eating too quickly until you physically can’t anymore and being depressed afterwards. A person can consume between 10,000 and 20,000 calories worth of food during a binge. In comparison, a normal diet for an average person is about 2,000 calories a day.

Treatments include behavioral change therapy with the help of psychiatrists or psychologists. The aim is to stop a person from thinking of what used to cause him or her to binge eat. The good news that the condition is totally treatable and many people get over it.


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There is no scientific evidence explaining what exactly causes binge eating disorder (BED), but obese people are more at risk for developing it. Most of them don’t have it, but of individuals with BED, up to 2/3 are obese, according to the National Eating Disorders Association. Gaining a lot of weight is common when you binge eat. Consuming thousands of calories in a few minutes and not burning them off afterwards will certainly lead to extra inches around your waist. The most immediate side effects of that are self-consciousness, which can lead to even more eating, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.  


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Feelings people with the disorder share are guilt, helplessness, and sadness.  All of these usually lead them to eat more, never ending the vicious cycle. Studies have shown that patients experience more stress and irregular sleep patterns and think of suicide more often.

Joint pain

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Joint pain, which can be anything from mild discomfort to inflammation, is associated with obesity. Most people won’t even see a doctor because the pain is not so bad. However, you should see a professional if you see redness, swelling or feel painful soreness. Arthritis is not as common as cardiovascular diseases or diabetes, but obesity makes the condition worse, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The more weight on a joint, the more stressed the joint becomes, and the more likely it will wear down and be damaged.

Type 2 diabetes

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Research has suggested that people with BED are more likely to get diabetes. Overeating in short amounts of time make it more difficult for the body to control blood sugar levels. It takes much longer to produce enough insulin.

Heart problems

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When the body weighs more than it should, it makes it harder for the heart to pump blood. The more fat the body has, the higher the risk for high blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, all of which can contribute to heart failure. Some people don’t experience any symptoms, so you have to be on the lookout for chest pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.

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