Weight suppression is a robust predictor of outcome in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of bulimia nervosa.
Patients with bulimia (binge-purge syndrome) frequently complain that they consume a very restrictive diet to avoid gaining weight. To investigate this claim, 23 hospitalized bulimic patients were assessed daily for body weight, caloric intake, macronutrient diet content, activity measures, and body composition estimates during weight-stable periods. Bulimic patients ate fewer kilocalories per kilogram body weight (22.1 +/- 4.6 kcal/kg) than did age-matched normal women (29.7 +/- 6.5 kcal/kg) but had similar activity levels and body composition. Clinical variables, such as history of laxative abuse, anorexia, or obesity, and physiological characteristics, such as body weight, activity level, or dietary content, could not account for this difference in caloric consumption. Bulimic patients tended to eat a diet lower in fat and higher in protein than did control subjects. These results agree with observations of increased efficiency of caloric utilization in obese patients and support patient complaints of a tendency to gain weight easily.