Psychological and dietary treatments of binge eating disorder: Conceptual implications

Stephen A. Wonderlich, Martina De Zwaan, James E. Mitchell, Carol Peterson, Scott Crow

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Objective: The authors review the available literature on psychological and dietary treatment approaches for binge eating disorder (BED). Methods: Studies were grouped according to psychological versus dietary approaches to BED. Studies were reviewed in terms of general implications, but particular emphasis was placed on drop-out rates, abstinence from binge eating, and weight loss. Results: Drop-out rates from psychological or dietary approaches to treatment averaged 20% and the presence of binge eating did not confer a greater risk of drop-out among obese individuals. Both psychological and dietary approaches to treatment produced abstinence rates from binge eating of approximately 50% at the 12-month follow-up. Both psychological and dietary approaches show modest efficacy of short-term weight loss, but these effects are generally not sustained in long-term follow-up assessments. Discussion: Psychological and dietary approaches to BED treatment show reasonable efficacy in binge eating reduction, but limited efficacy in weight loss. These findings are discussed in terms of the validity of the BED construct and the need for more psychopathology studies of BED.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S58-S73
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue numberSUPPL.
StatePublished - 2003


  • Binge eating disorder
  • Dietary approach
  • Psychological approach
  • Treatment


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