The Interactive Effects of Estrogen and Progesterone on Changes in Binge Eating Across the Menstrual Cycle

Klump, K. L., Keel, P. K., Racine, S., Burt, S. A., Sisk, C. L., Neale, M., Boker, S. M. & Hu, J. Y. (2013) The Interactive effects of Estrogen and Progesterone on Changes in Binge Eating Across the Menstrual Cycle. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122:1, 131–137.

Studies suggest that within-person changes in estrogen and progesterone predict changes in binge eating across the menstrual cycle. However, samples have been extremely small (maximum N = 9), and analyses have not examined the interactive effects of hormones that are critical for changes in food intake in animals. The aims of the current study were to examine ovarian hormone interactions in the prediction of within-subject changes in emotional eating in the largest sample of women to date (N = 196). Participants provided daily ratings of emotional eating and saliva samples for hormone measurement for 45 consecutive days. Results confirmed that changes in ovarian hormones predict changes in emotional eating across the menstrual cycle, with a significant estradiol x progesterone interaction. Emotional eating scores were highest during the midluteal phase, when progesterone peaks and estradiol demonstrates a secondary peak. Findings extend previous work by highlighting significant interactions between estrogen and progesterone that explain midluteal increases in emotional eating. Future work should explore mechanisms (e.g., gene–hormone interactions) that contribute to both within- and between- subjects differences in emotional eating.

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