Eating behavior of women with bulimia was compared with that of control subjects who had no eating disorders. Both groups were presented with two buffet-style multiple-item meals. In one meal subjects were instructed to eat normally and in the other they were instructed to eat as much as they could. The eating patterns of patients differed from control subjects in the quantity of food selected and in the rate of eating. During the binge meal, patients spent more of their meal time eating dessert and snacks than did control subjects and began their dessert and snack consumption earlier than control subjects. Patients distributed their meat consumption more evenly across the meal, whereas control subjects ate meat predominantly early in the meals. Most patients consumed either more or less than control subjects when not binge eating, indicating that the eating disturbances in bulimic patients are not confined to episodes of binge eating.