The present study hypothesized that unfulfilled basic needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness (SDT, Deci and Ryan, Psychol Inq 11:227–268, 2000) are associated with the impulse to eat and with binge eating. In addition, we assumed that individuals with a high achievement motive, who are characterized by high self-control competences, have the same impulse to eat when confronted with unfulfilled basic needs, but are better able to control the impulse to binge eat than individuals with a low achievement motive. In accordance with these hypotheses, unfulfilled basic needs significantly positively predicted the impulse to eat as well as binge eating behavior. As also expected, the achievement motive did not moderate the effect of unfulfilled needs on the impulse to eat, but did influence the effect of unfulfilled needs on binge eating. The results are discussed in terms of a broader debate about the interaction between basic needs and implicit motives.