Children's descriptions of the foods consumed during loss of control eating episodes

Kelly R. Theim, Marian Tanofsky-Kraff, Christine G. Salaita, Ann F. Haynos, Margaret C. Mirch, Lisa M. Ranzenhofer, Susan Z. Yanovski, Denise E. Wilfley, Jack A. Yanovski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Binge and loss of control (LOC) eating appear to be common among youth; however, little is known about the foods consumed during such eating episodes. Two-hundred forty-nine children, age 6-18 years, were interviewed to determine if they engaged in eating episodes with LOC over the past month. In the absence of reported LOC eating, overeating episodes or normal meals without LOC were recorded. Participants were asked to describe the type and quantity of foods eaten during an episode. Eighty-one children reported LOC eating episodes and 168 reported no such episodes (No LOC). Although total energy intake did not differ between LOC and No LOC episodes, LOC episodes consisted of a lower percentage of calories from protein (14.2 ± 0.7 v. 18.0 ± 0.7%, p < .001) and a higher percentage from carbohydrates (49.8 ± 1.6 v. 45.2 ± 1.1%, p < .05). Specifically, LOC episodes consisted of a higher percentage of calories from snacks (13.2 ± 2.7 v. 7.4 ± 1.2%, p < .05) and desserts (18.1 ± 3.1 v. 12.8 ± 1.5%, p < .05). The quality of LOC episodes may help explain why LOC eating promotes excessive weight gain among children who report such episodes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-265
Number of pages8
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH, grant ZO1-HD-00641 (NICHD, NIH) to JAY, and by grant 1K24MH070446-02 (NIMH, NIH) and grant 5R01HD036904-05 (NICHD, NIH) to DEW. J. Yanovski is a commissioned officer in the United States Public Health Service, DHHS.


  • Binge and loss of control eating
  • Child
  • Energy intake
  • Macronutrient intake
  • Obesity

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