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Keywords:

  • eating disorders;
  • artificial sweetener;
  • anorexia nervosa;
  • bulimia nervosa;
  • chewing gum;
  • diet beverages

Abstract

Women with eating disorders report using large quantities of artificially sweetened products, but this has not been quantified.

Objective

The authors assessed the use of selected artificially sweetened low-calorie products among women with eating disorders compared with controls.

Method

Thirty women with anorexia nervosa (18 with the restricting subtype [AN-R] and 12 with the binge/purge subtype [AN-B/P]), 48 women with bulimia nervosa (BN), and 32 healthy control women completed a survey of frequency and amount of consumption of chewing gum, artificially sweetened low-calorie beverages, and packets of artificial sweetener in the previous month.

Results

A greater proportion of women with AN-B/P and BN reported use of each product, compared with women with AN-R and control participants. Among product users, patients with eating disorders reported using greater amounts than controls. Among patients who reported binge eating and/or purging, the quantity of each product used was inversely correlated with body mass index (BMI).

Conclusion

These data suggest an increased drive for sweet orosensory stimulation in women with AN and BN. © 2006 by Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Int J Eat Disord, 2006