, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 282–297 | Cite as

Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT) for Binge Eating: A Randomized Clinical Trial

  • Jean KristellerEmail author
  • Ruth Q. Wolever
  • Virgil Sheets


Binge eating is characterized by significant imbalance in food intake regulation and is often comorbid with obesity and depression. Mindfulness-based approaches may reduce compulsive overeating, address associated behavioral and emotional dysregulation, and promote internalization of change. This randomized trial explored the efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Eating Awareness Training (MB-EAT), a 12-session group treatment, in comparison to a psychoeducational/cognitive–behavioral intervention (PECB) and a wait list control. MB-EAT incorporates sitting and guided mindfulness practices to cultivate greater awareness of hunger and fullness cues, sensory-specific satiety, and emotional and other triggers for eating. The two-site study randomized 150 overweight or obese (body mass index = 40.3) individuals (12 % men; 14 % African-American/Hispanic; average age = 46.6 years), 66 % of whom met the full DSM-IV-R criteria for binge eating disorder (BED). Compared to the wait list control, MB-EAT and PECB showed generally comparable improvement after 1 and 4 months post-intervention on binge days per month, the Binge Eating Scale, and depression. At 4 months post-intervention, 95 % of those individuals with BED in MB-EAT no longer met the BED criteria vs. 76 % receiving PECB; furthermore, binges that occurred were likely to be significantly smaller. Amount of mindfulness practice predicted improvement on a range of variables, including weight loss (r = −0.38, p < 0.05). Results suggest that MB-EAT decreased binge eating and related symptoms at a clinically meaningful level, with improvement related to the degree of mindfulness practice.


Binge eating Clinical trial Treatment Meditation Eating regulation 



This research was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine “Meditation-Based Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder” NIH Grant: R21 AT00416-01.

The manual for the MB-EAT program used here may be obtained from Jean L. Kristeller, Ph.D., at A published version is in preparation. A detailed outline of the PECB treatment may be obtained from Ruth Q. Wolever, Ph.D., at


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean Kristeller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ruth Q. Wolever
    • 2
  • Virgil Sheets
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIndiana State UniversityTerre HauteUSA
  2. 2.Duke Integrative MedicineDuke University Medical CenterDurhamUSA

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