Controlling binge eating and weight: a treatment for binge eating disorder worth researching?

Eat Weight Disord. 2020 Aug;25(4):1105-1109. doi: 10.1007/s40519-019-00734-4. Epub 2019 Jun 18.


Purpose: The majority of those who seek treatment for binge eating disorder also have accompanying obesity or overweight. The best available psychological treatments for binge eating disorder produce good and lasting outcomes with regard to control over eating but virtually no weight loss, yet control over eating and weight loss are both important and valued goals of those who seek treatment.

Methods: We have devised a model of the processes maintaining both the binge eating and the overweight or obesity that occurs in many patients with binge eating disorder who seek treatment. The model draws on previous research findings to highlight and integrate the factors maintaining both the disordered eating and the accompanying overweight or obesity.

Results: We outline a new treatment based on the proposed model that explicitly addresses the twin goals of cessation of binge eating and weight loss in an integrated fashion. The proposed treatment incorporates and integrates elements from two previously tested evidence-based interventions, enhanced cognitive behavioural therapy for eating disorders shown to reduce binge eating and cognitive behaviour therapy of obesity, which produces weight loss.

Conclusion: To meet a major challenge for the treatment of binge eating disorder (BED), we have proposed that an integrated treatment with the goals of addressing both binge eating and overweight or obesity is worth researching further. Should this treatment be successful, the goals of many patients who seek treatment for BED are more likely to be met.

Level of evidence: This brief report proposes a new approach to clinical practice to be researched further. The evidence on the basis of which the case is made is derived from Level 1: evidence obtained from at least one properly designed randomized controlled trial; systematic reviews and meta-analyses; and experimental studies.

Keywords: Binge eating; Binge eating disorder; Cognitive behavioural therapy; Obesity; Overweight; Weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Binge-Eating Disorder* / therapy
  • Body Weight
  • Bulimia*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss