Some time ago I started a binge eating survey and invited each of you to participate. I had high hopes of getting at least 100 completed responses, and now I realize that that number was a little high considering the age of my blog. 🙂 I ended up with less than 50 responses, however I am very happy about the participation in the survey (thank you!).
My survey was pretty simple: I asked what the respondent’s main choice of binge food was, what the ingredients were, if they knew them. Most did not know the ingredients, however if the answer was “ice cream”, I know that a main ingredient of it is sugar.
I did receive some incomplete surveys, which I could not use, and I originally wanted to compare whether or not males and females differed at all in their binging, and if there was any difference in binge foods based on where people live in the world. The survey stats won’t include either of these comparisons because many of the responses didn’t include this information.
What I did accomplish with this survey is the fact that binging (out of control eating) is certainly not uncommon. Also, when I set out with this initially, I believed that I would find that the foods that people binge on contain addictive ingredients. The responses I did receive were exactly what I expected as far as the ingredients of preferred binge foods.
Following are the stats on the percentage of survey participants whose preferred binge food contained the following main ingredient(s). Some responded with more than one (i.e.: both sugar and salt), and those are also indicated below:
- Sugar – 72%
- Sugar and Flour – 31%
- Flour – 28%
- Salt – 17%
- Dairy – 17%
- Sugar, Salt, and Flour – 1%
Each of these ingredients is addictive, and I am not at all surprised that sugar topped the list. By the way, no one preferred plain, no salt, no preservatives, no additives, nothing added chicken to binge on. 😆
My main purpose in conducting this simple survey was to learn if the foods that people binge on contain ingredients that are addictive, and I think that I definitely accomplished that goal. This leads me to the conclusion that if you eliminate those foods that contain the addictive ingredients, then that should eliminate the binging, or at the very least, decrease it astronomically.
As far as my personal experience with this goes, when I conducted the “ban the refined sugar experiment” on myself, I no longer experienced food cravings, and I did not binge on any foods during that time. I didn’t even have the desire to overeat, much less did the foods I was eating trigger any uncontrollable eating in me. (**It’s important to note that I not only eliminated sugar, but also unhealthy fats, flour, dairy, and added salt, since I was eating as I had learned to eat on the Six Week Body Makeover. You might have different results if, for example, you eliminate only sugar but continue to eat flour, and you have a flour addiction; then you would still experience food cravings.)
The other goal of this survey was to show that people who binge are certainly not alone in this behavior. I have also written a previous article to answer a question that I received on the binge eating survey regarding just how common binge eating is.
Overall, I think that the binge eating survey was very successful. It did take me awhile to go through all of the responses as I did want to verify some of the ingredients of the binge foods, especially if they weren’t provided, so maybe it’s just as well that I did not get 100 responses! 🙂
Even though this was not a scientific or medical survey of any kind, I do think that the responses show how the foods we eat can determine whether or not we eat uncontrollably. When I eat whole foods, unprocessed, no sugar or salt added, I do not binge. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’m full. On the other hand, if I eat processed, sugared, salted foods, it’s like I can never get enough; I always want more.