Prevalence of eating disorders risk behavior and “low-carb” diet in university students

posted on 19.02.2020 by Jônatas de Oliveira, Leandro Figueredo, Táki Athanássios Cordás

ABSTRACT Objectives To identify the presence of binge eating associated or not with compensatory practices in low-carb dieters. Methods Binge Eating Scale (BES) and Hay Questionnaire were used in order to assess the frequency of binge eating and compensatory practices, in addition to a frequency questionnaire for the consumption of chocolate, bread and rice. A scale of 1-8 points assessed the carbohydrate restriction intensity, and participants were divided into groups (i) low-carb diet and (ii) control. Comparisons between groups were part of the analysis, as well as correlations between variables of interest per diet group (p < 0.05). Results Participants were a total of 853 university students, in which 75.97% were women with an average of 22.04 years old (SD = 3.33) and an average BMI of 23.56 kg/m2, (SD = 4.38). From the aforementioned total, 214 had a low-carb diet, and 639 did not. The prevalence of a high score suggestive of binge eating without compensatory practices was 17.94% (n = 153), while the presence of binge eating associated with compensation was 2.23% (n = 19). As for the diet group, 35.05% (n = 75) also performed intermittent fasting. The diet group reached higher values for ECAP and BMI, and lower for frequency of consumption of rice and bread. Furthermore, ECAP scores correlated positively with chocolate consumption (r = + 0.14; p = 0.0377) and BMI values (r = + 0.19; p = 0.0042), whereas carbohydrate restriction showed negative correlation with chocolate consumption (r = - 0.13; p = 0.041); French bread (r = - 0.20; p = 0.0024) and rice (r = - 0.36; p = <0.0001). Conclusions We highlight the high prevalence of diet practice (25.09%), and the higher levels of binge eating in this group, as well as the lower consumption of rice and bread compared to those who did not diet.