An assessment of daily food intake in participants with anorexia nervosa in the natural environment

Carlye Burd, James E. Mitchell, Ross D. Crosby, Scott G. Engel, Stephen A. Wonderlich, Chad Lystad, Daniel Le Grange, Carol B. Peterson, Scott Crow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the caloric intake in women with anorexia nervosa (AN) and how it varies by day as a function of the presence or absence of binge eating and/or purging behaviors. Method: Female participants with AN (n = 84, mean age = 24.4, range 18-51) were recruited from three different sites. Data on food intake were obtained through the use of 24-h dietary recall using the Nutritional Data Systems for Research, and data on binge eating and purging behaviors were collected on palmtop computers using an ecological momentary assessment paradigm. Daily macronutrient intake was compared on days during which binge eating and/or purging behaviors did or did not occur. Results: On days during which binge eating and purging behaviors both occurred, participants reported significantly greater kilocalorie intake when compared with days when neither behavior occurred, or when only binge eating or purging occurred. Binge eating episodes were only modest in size on days when purging did not occur. Energy intake overall was higher than expected. Discussion: Intake on days where binge eating occurred varied dramatically based on whether or not purging occurred. Whether markedly increased binge eating intake was causally related to purging is unclear. Nonetheless eating episodes were at times quite large and equivalent to those reported by participants with bulimia nervosa in other research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-374
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2009


  • AN
  • Binge eating
  • Caloric intake
  • Compensatory behaviors

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