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As a teen, what should I know about emotional eating?

Craig B. Primack, MD
General Practice

Teenagers (and everyone else) should be aware of emotional eating. I define emotional eating as eating to fulfill an emotional need that is not physical hunger. The most common subtypes that we see are 1) eating for stress control, 2) avoidance eating (eating to avoid thinking about or doing something) and 3) eating for energy. 

The foods that are the hallmark of emotional eating are simple carbohydrates and a have a characteristic repetitive eating pattern. Eating often and repeatedly.

If you find yourself eating emotionally, the first person to consider speaking to is your primary care physician and to discuss being referred to an emotional eating specialist. This specialist can be an obesity medicine physician or a specially trained psychologist. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.