GEORGE W. BO-LINN, M.D.; CAROL A. SANTA ANA, B.S.; STEPHEN G. MORAWSKI, B.A.; JOHN S. FORDTRAN, M.D.
Self-induced purging with laxatives is common among bulimic persons, who assume that purging reduces intestinal absorption of ingested calories. However, the efficacy of purging in reducing calorie absorption has never been studied, probably because the standard calorie balance procedure is expensive and time consuming. With a recently devised method, calorie absorption during a single day was measured to determine to what extent Phenolphthalein or saline purge reduced calorie absorption. In two bulimic patients who regularly used laxatives for weight control and five normal young women, even extreme purging producing 4 to 6 L of diarrhea caused calorie absorption to decrease by only about 12% of calorie intake. The theoretical basis on which laxatives are taken for weight control is unsound.
BO-LINN GW, SANTA ANA CA, MORAWSKI SG, et al. Purging and Calorie Absorption in Bulimic Patients and Normal Women. Ann Intern Med. 1983;99:14–17. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-99-1-14
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1983;99(1):14-17.
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