Introduction: Severely energy-restricted diets have been shown to result in greater weight and fat loss compared to moderately energy-restricted diets [1-3] however, it is not known if such diets are effective in individuals with recurrent binge eating. This study assesses the impact of recurrent binge eating on changes in body weight and fat mass following severe versus moderate energy-restricted weight loss diets in individuals with obesity.
Methods: 97 postmenopausal women with obesity were randomised to either a moderately energy-restricted food-based diet for 12 months or a severely energy-restricted total meal replacement diet for 4 months, followed by the moderate diet until 12 months. Body weight and whole-body fat mass (by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) were assessed at baseline and 12 months, and a two-way ANOVA was used to investigate the impact of dietary intervention on change in body weight taking into account interaction with binge eating.
Results: 53% of 47 participants in the severe group reported recurrent binge eating behaviour compared to 36% of 50 participants in the moderate group. There was no interaction between dietary intervention and the presence or absence of binge eating (p>0.05). However, an effect was observed in the severe group with a mean (SD) loss of weight and fat mass of -13.5 (4.8) kg and -9.8 (3.2) kg, respectively, in individuals with binge eating compared to -17.3 (7.0) kg and -13.4 (5.7) kg in individuals without binge eating (p=0.050 and p=0.02). There was no difference in weight and fat mass loss between individuals with and without binge eating in the moderate group (p>0.05).
Conclusion: Individuals with recurrent binge eating lost less weight and fat mass following the severely energy restricted diet than individuals without recurrent binge eating, highlighting a likely importance of addressing binge eating in conjunction with dietary weight loss interventions.