Project: Research project


The processes which initiate, maintain and terminate eating in
disordered individuals have not been identified. We propose to
evaluate the responses of subjects with anorexia nervosa, bulimia
nervosa, or chronic dieting behavior to manipulations of energy
density, food type, portion size, deprivation and food selection
in naturalistic and laboratory settings before and after inpatient
treatment. Four main hypotheses will be tested: First, that the
eating behavior of eating behavior of eating disordered individuals
differs quantitatively from that of the normal population on
parameters such as rate of ingestion, dietary selection and onset
of satiety. Second, that eating disordered subjects fails to
adjust intake according to energy density relative to non-
disordered subjects. Third, that the groups will show differential
development of sensory-specific satiety and changes in rating of
affective and cognitive variables to foods after test meal
consumption. Finally, that the abnormal characteristics recorded
in eating disordered patients will be normalized following
treatment. These hypotheses will be tested in the following
experiments which will systematically assess regulation, food
selection and responses to foods: 1. Ability to regulate caloric
intake will be investigated using a high and low-calorie preload
or a liquid diet. The degree to which subjects compensate for
caloric content will indicate sensitivity to internal regulatory
cues. 2. Responses to familiar foods which are high or low-
calorie will be studied. Food selection, amount consumed, rate
of eating and ratings of sensory, affective and cognitive variables
will provide evidence for disturbances of basic ingestive
processes. 3. The influence of three levels of deprivation on
eating behavior will be monitored. Adjustment of intake following
deprivation will indicate responsiveness to internal signals of
hunger. 4. Food selection and energy intake in a cafeteria and
laboratory setting will be compared before and after treatment.
The extent to which normalized levels of intake have been restored
will be recorded. These experiments will permit us to identify
parameters which characterize disordered eating. Such information
will enhance not only our understanding of the pathogenesis of
eating disorders but will increase our knowledge of the mechanisms
underlying eating in normals.
Effective start/end date9/1/888/31/94


  • National Institutes of Health: $173,207.00
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institutes of Health


Food Preferences
Portion Size
Social Adjustment
Feeding and Eating Disorders
Food Deprivation
Specific Gravity
Anorexia Nervosa
Feeding Behavior
Energy Intake