Internal states and interoception along a spectrum of eating disorder symptomology.
Recent studies on atypical interoceptive capabilities have focused on clinical populations, including anorexia nervosa[1,2]. The present exploratory study aims to characterize the influence of disordered eating symptomology on interoceptive capabilities in college students, a population for which dangerous dieting behaviors may emerge.
Ninety-nine participants were randomized to consume a blinded high calorie or low calorie midday shake. Participants reported frequency of eating disorder cognitions and behaviors; indicated changes in satiety, happiness, and energy pre- and post-consumption; and guessed the calories in their shake. Outcomes (perceived satiety, changes in mood, and caloric guess) were regressed on eating disorder symptoms scores, the high/low calorie shake condition, and the interaction between these predictors.
Those randomized to receive the high calorie shake reported feeling fuller, but only when endorsing lower levels of eating concern. Those randomized to the high calorie shake reported greater post-meal happiness, but only at greater levels of eating concerns. Lastly, those with lower levels of eating restraint reported an expected positive association between level of fullness and calorie guess, but those with higher levels of eating restraint did not exhibit any relationship between perceived fullness and calorie guess.
Results of this exploratory suggest that irregular eating habits (e.g., not eating a sufficient amount for lunch) may have direct consequences on interoceptive capabilities. Further, these capacities may be impacted by individual differences in eating concern and restraint. Preliminary findings suggest that impairment in deciphering visceral signals may be associated with the degree of eating disorder symptomology; such impairment may occur at lower levels of symptomatology than normative data would indicate.
Datta, N; Bidopia, T; Datta, S; Mittal, G; Alphin, F; Herbert, BM; Marsh, EJ; Fitzsimons, GJ; Strauman, TJ; Zucker, NL
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