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Cheat meals can cause eating disorders, says a study

Everybody who follows a weight loss regimen has a day set out for indulgent meals when they can eat all the delectable but ‘bad’ items.

According to a study, people who frequently indulge in these cheat meals are more likely to have eating disorders.

The research:

Cheating on meals was linked to all seven categories of eating disorder behaviours in women over the past 12 months. It was linked to behaviours like binge eating, excessive exercise, and fasting in men. Finally, it was linked to binge eating and overeating among transgender or gender non-conforming subjects.

‘Research hasn’t fully explored eating behaviours purported to increase muscularity and leanness, such as cheat meals,’ says lead author Kyle T. Ganson, PhD, MSW, assistant professor at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

‘This is particularly important given the popularity of cheat meals that are well documented on social media. We needed to explore whether there are associations between cheat meals and eating disorder psychopathology,’ he added.

Additionally, they found that men were more likely than women to indulge in cheat meals.

While the majority of the sample’s cheat meals consisted of high-calorie foods, there were noticeable disparities between the types of cheat meals consumed by men and women.

Men specifically reported eating more protein-rich foods, whereas women said they preferred dairy, salty, and sweet foods.


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