Binge Eating Healthy Foods – Yes, It Really Happens
Binge eating healthy foods is surprisingly common. But for some reason, we don’t talk about it a lot.
We tend to assume binge eating only happens with junk food, processed foods, and treat foods.
The Hungry Or Bored Test
I’ve seen a post on social media about testing whether you’re hungry or whether you’re bored. The idea is that you think of boring or healthy food, or maybe something that you don’t like.
Ask if you would eat that now.
And the test is that if you would eat that, then you are hungry. If you wouldn’t eat that, then you’re just bored.
As someone who has binged on so-called boring foods plenty of times, I can tell you that the test doesn’t work.
Binge eating disorder wants what it wants. It’s very much possible to binge on foods that we consider healthy.
Before I get any further into this, let me explain the word “healthy”.
What Is A “Healthy” Food?
I mean it in a broad general sense. “Healthy” is going to mean different things to different people. We all consider vegetables healthy generally across the board.
Fruit is generally considered healthy. If you follow a low-carb or ketogenic diet, you might have other thoughts on it. If that’s you, I’m not here to judge. You do you.
We think of chicken or lean meats as healthy unless you’re vegetarian or vegan.
Tofu is considered healthy if you’re vegan. But if you’re an omnivore or if you follow the paleo diet, you might say it’s processed and not healthy.
So I’m not trying to define healthy for everyone. Let’s just use that broad definition for now.
We’re 30% More Likely To Overeat Healthy Foods
When I was studying for my nutritionist qualification, one of my tutors quoted a study to me.
The study said we’re 30% more likely to overeat foods that we think are healthy.
For the sake of that study, overeating was defined as underestimating our portion sizes by at least 10%.
I haven’t been able to find that study again since then, which I’m annoyed about. But the results themselves don’t surprise me.
We don’t have the stigma or emotional relationship associated with “healthy” foods. So we have less reason to be mindful of our intake.
But, for me, binges have been more frequent on healthy foods than on treats or junk food.
And here are a few examples.
The 5 Most Common Healthy Foods I Have Binged On
Up to a kilogram of fresh fruit in an evening. In terms of calories, it doesn’t work out to that much. But I cannot begin to describe how, how uncomfortable it is to have that volume of food sitting in your gut.
Two whole batch-cooked roast broccoli.
A whole jar of peanut butter. I guess it is considered a treat food or an indulgent food because it is quite high in calories, but it does have a lot of nutritional benefits as well.
And the one food that I have ended up bingeing on more often than most. For me, that is homemade banana and oat cookies. These aren’t like sugary, processed, store-bought cookies or ing like that. It’s mashed banana, oat flour, dark chocolate, and flaxseeds with a little bit of almond milk.
They have great nutritional value, but when I binge on those, I can get through A LOT.
So yes, it’s very much possible to binge on allegedly healthy or more nutritious foods.
The Impact Of Binge Eating Healthy Foods
The negative impact on physical health is probably not going to be as severe when the foods you’re bingeing on have a higher nutritional value.
But in that moment it still feels the same. And the recovery still feels the same afterwards.
That’s the thing. Binge eating is different for everyone and the foods we binge on are different.
So it’s not anyone’s place to say “Your binge isn’t as bad as my binge.”
Understanding Your Binge Cravings
I’ve called binge eating an irrational process before. It’s hard to explain, but the best way might be to say that your actions and your thoughts get detached from each other.
And then when your body or your cravings fixate on a certain food, that’s pretty much it. It doesn’t matter whether it’s deemed healthy or nutritious or not. That’s the food that you ended up bingeing on.
So yeah, it’s very much possible to binge on so-called healthy foods.