Radhika Takru, writing on the excellent brainblogger.com website, reports on research suggesting that dietary restraint can, somewhat ironically, lead to binge eating. But only if you are already of a particular genetic predisposition.
Oddly enough, the less you eat, the more likely you are to overeat. There are three reasons for this. At a physiological level, the body does not welcome this drop in energy. Your physical self is infuriatingly more attached to its weight than you are. Depriving it of the amount of food its used to makes it crave those ‘missing’ calories so it’s difficult to diet without feeling hungry. On a psychological level, if we equate dietary restraint with control then even a tiny shift into “bad” territory might be perceived as a total loss. We have one square of milk chocolate, figure we’ve blown our diet entirely and decide to have another one, promising ourselves we’ll start again tomorrow."