Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

UC San Diego Researchers To Test New Treatment For Binge Eating

UC San Diego will launch a clinical trial to see if a novel treatment method can help people who binge eat.

— Researchers at UC San Diego say they've come up with a new method of treating the disorder known as binge eating. They'll soon launch a clinical trial to see if the treatment works.

It's estimated more than 20 million obese Americans engage in harmful binge eating. These people frequently devour big quantities of high-caloric foods, and feel they have no control over their behavior.

UC San Diego psychologist Kerri Boutelle thinks binge eaters act like that because of environmental cues.

"So a good example is if you sit on the couch every night at ten o'clock, and you have a brownie while you're watching TV," she explained. "If you sit on the couch every night at ten o'clock, you're body's gonna start to crave overeating."

Boutelle's treatment method teaches binge eaters how to improve their sensitivity to hunger, and how to change their response to the sight and smell of food.

The clinical trial will recruit 30 adults who will take part in weekly 90 minute sessions over a 12-week period. Boutelle said a similar trial involving children showed promising results.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.