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How much should I eat? Estimation of meal portions in anorexia nervosa


Milos, Gabriella; Kuenzli, Cornelia; Martin Soelch, Chantal; Schumacher, Sonja; Moergeli, Hanspeter; Mueller-Pfeiffer, Christoph (2013). How much should I eat? Estimation of meal portions in anorexia nervosa. Appetite, 63:42-47.

Abstract

Pathological concern regarding one's weight and weight gain is a crucial feature of anorexia nervosa. Consequently, anorexia nervosa patients often claim that they are uncertain regarding the amount of food they should eat. The present study investigated whether individuals with anorexia nervosa show an altered estimation of meal portion sizes and whether this estimation is modulated by an intent-to-eat instruction (where patients are asked to imagine having to eat the presented meal), meal type and meal portion size. Twenty-four women with anorexia nervosa and 27 healthy women estimated, using a visual analogue scale, the size of six different portions of three different meals, with and without intent-to-eat instructions. Subjects with anorexia nervosa estimated the size of small and medium meal portions (but not large meal servings) as being significantly larger, compared to estimates of healthy controls. The overestimation of small meal portions by anorexia nervosa subjects was significantly greater in the intent-to-eat, compared to general, condition. These findings suggest that disturbed perceptions associated with anorexia nervosa not only include interoceptive awareness (i.e., body weight and shape), but also extend to external disorder-related objects such as meal portion size. Specific therapeutic interventions, such as training regarding meal portion evaluation, could address these difficulties.

Abstract

Pathological concern regarding one's weight and weight gain is a crucial feature of anorexia nervosa. Consequently, anorexia nervosa patients often claim that they are uncertain regarding the amount of food they should eat. The present study investigated whether individuals with anorexia nervosa show an altered estimation of meal portion sizes and whether this estimation is modulated by an intent-to-eat instruction (where patients are asked to imagine having to eat the presented meal), meal type and meal portion size. Twenty-four women with anorexia nervosa and 27 healthy women estimated, using a visual analogue scale, the size of six different portions of three different meals, with and without intent-to-eat instructions. Subjects with anorexia nervosa estimated the size of small and medium meal portions (but not large meal servings) as being significantly larger, compared to estimates of healthy controls. The overestimation of small meal portions by anorexia nervosa subjects was significantly greater in the intent-to-eat, compared to general, condition. These findings suggest that disturbed perceptions associated with anorexia nervosa not only include interoceptive awareness (i.e., body weight and shape), but also extend to external disorder-related objects such as meal portion size. Specific therapeutic interventions, such as training regarding meal portion evaluation, could address these difficulties.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Klinik für Konsiliarpsychiatrie und Psychosomatik
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:20 Jun 2013 06:01
Last Modified:21 Nov 2017 16:45
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0195-6663
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2012.12.016
Related URLs:http://www.zora.uzh.ch/85541/
PubMed ID:23276722

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