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Binge Eating and Autism Treatment with Dietitians in the St. Louis Area - Outpatient Medical Nutrition Therapists Can Help You Experience Recovery

Is there a link between autism and overeating?

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Yes, there is certainly a notable link between the two which can stem from various factors such as sensory sensitivity, routine driven behaviors, emotional regulation difficulties, and challenge in recognizing hunger and fullness cues.

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Why do autistic people struggle with food?

People with autism can face many challenges related to food, body image, feeding, nutrition, and the recovery process. Here are some eating (and feeding) difficulties you or your child may need to overcome:

 

  • Sensory Processing Issues to Taste, Texture, and Smell: This can lead to preferences for specific foods, often those that are calories dens and less nutritious. 

  • Routine and Repetition: This can result in one eating the same food over and over or snacking frequently as part of their daily routine, potentially leading to overeating. 

  • Communication Challenges: This may result in it being hard for individuals to express hunger and fullness accurately leading to irregular eating patterns. 

  • Medication Side Effects: Some medication can lead to increase appetite and weight gain due to overeating.

Social influences and isolation can lead to using food as a substitute for social interactions contributing yet again to overeating.

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Nutrition Therapy to Manage and Overcome Binge Eating with Autistic Children:

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Symptoms of Binge Eating

  • Eating a large amount of food within a discrete time period. 

  • Feeling a lack of control over eating during the episodes. 

  • Eating much more rapidly than normal

  • Eating until feel uncomfortably full 

  • Eating alone due to embarrassment about the quantity of food consumes 

  • Eating large amounts when not hungry 

  • Feeling disgusted with oneself 

  • Feeling depressed or guilty after overeating 

  • Episodes occur at least once a week for 3 months

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