Feeding laboratory studies in patients with eating disorders: A review

James E. Mitchell, Scott Crow, Carol B. Peterson, Steve Wonderlich, Ross D. Crosby

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors review the available literature on feeding lab studies in individuals with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Method: Studies were grouped by the research groups which have conducted such studies since these studies have tended to cluster in certain research settings, using specific methodologies at each sites. Results: The results of this review indicate that although there are several inherent limitations in this type of research, various groups of investigators have demonstrated that eating disorder patients will engage in pathological eating behaviors in structured laboratory settings and that results can be obtained fairly consistently. Also interesting clinically significant differences have emerged across groups. Subtle differences in technique, such as the instructions regarding eating behavior, probably result in different behavioral responses. Discussion: Feeding laboratory studies provide useful information that can validate, suggest, or challenge established clinical assumptions and diagnostic criteria. However, there are limitations to these methodologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-124
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998


  • Behavioral responses
  • Eating disorders
  • Feeding


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