If a little stress makes you a lot impulsive, you may be at an increased risk of binge eating or uncontrollable consumption of large amount of food in a short period of time, says a study.
"It is human nature to want some comfort after a bad day, but our research found that the tendency to act rashly when faced with negative emotions is a personality trait that can lead to binge eating," said the study author Kelly Klump, professor at the Michigan State University in the US.
For the study, the researchers interviewed 612 female twins, of which 14 percent had binge eating, overeating (consumption of a large amount of food without a loss of control) or loss of control over eating (difficulty controlling one’s consumption of even a small amount of food).
They determined that people with these eating problems generally had higher levels of ‘negative urgency,’ or a tendency to act impulsive when experiencing negative emotions, than others.
What is more, it is not just those with binge eating who act impulsively when upset.
This research has important implications for treatment, Klump said.
"If we can treat the underlying tendency to jump to eating when feeling negative emotions like stress, we may be able to help thousands of individuals who suffer from a range of eating disorders," Klump said.
The study appeared in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.