Millions of British women binge-eat, lie about how much they weigh and have a negative relationship with food, according to a new survey.
The study of 2,000 women also found that eating in secret is commonplace, with many refusing to tell family and friends the truth about how much they really consume.
Researchers said boredom, stress and feeling depressed are the biggest triggers causing women to eat more.
Three-quarters of UK women – 24 million – say they often feel guilty about how much they eat.
Women typically think about food 12 times a day, and those under 25 have it on their minds twice as much as those over 55, the poll found.
Six out of 10 told researchers they have lied about how much food they eat, almost half (43.74%) said they snack in secret, and more than a quarter (27.68%) confess to binge-eating – this rises to more than a third (36.72%) of those under 25.
Linda O’Byrne, chief nutritionist for New Atkins Nutritional, which organised the survey, said: “These are very worrying figures that reveal many women are ill at ease with food.
“Whether it is bingeing, lying about how much you weigh or eating in secret, you must do your best to stamp it out.
“We want everyone to have a happy and a wholesome relationship with food and believe this can be obtained by following a sensible and satisfying weight loss regime.
“Whether you are on a diet or not, food should never be the enemy.”