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Cheat meals: A benign or ominous variant of binge eating behavior?

Murray, SB, Pila, E, Mond, JM ORCID: 0000-0002-0410-091X, Mitchison, D, Blashill, AJ, Sabiston, CM and Griffiths, S 2018 , 'Cheat meals: A benign or ominous variant of binge eating behavior?' , Appetite, vol. 130 , pp. 274-278 , doi:

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Objective: Engagement in “cheat meals” has been recently documented as a socially endorsed dietary practiceoriented towards pursuing physique ideals, and which bears qualitative semblance to disordered eating behavior. However, the clinical significance of this dietary practice remains unclear.Methods: We recruited a sample of young adults (n = 248; 56% women; Mage = 19.29 ± 0.58) and examinedthe prevalence and characteristics of cheat meal engagement, including its associations with eating disorderpathology, psychological distress, and impairment in role functioning.Results: Findings revealed that 89.1% of participants engaged in cheat meal consumption that was eitherplanned or spontaneous, with planned cheat meals being predominantly aimed at managing food cravings andsustaining strict dietary regimens. Among men, the frequency of cheat meal engagement was positively associated with global eating disorder symptoms (p = 0.04), and objective binge episodes (p = 0.03), however cheatmeals were not associated with psychological distress or clinical impairment for either gender (p > 0.05).Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that cheat meal engagement is commonly endorsed amongyoung adults, and particularly among men. Moreover, cheat meals may reflect psychopathological propertiesakin to binge episodes, although do not confer psychological distress. Future research is urged in elucidating thedefinitional properties of cheat meal engagement, and examining clinical implications for this widespreaddietary practice.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Murray, SB and Pila, E and Mond, JM and Mitchison, D and Blashill, AJ and Sabiston, CM and Griffiths, S
Keywords: Cheat meal, Binge eating, Muscularity-oriented disordered eating, Eating behaviours
Journal or Publication Title: Appetite
Publisher: Academic Press Ltd Elsevier Science Ltd
ISSN: 0195-6663
DOI / ID Number:
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Copyright 2018 Elsevier Ltd.

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