Although he's been a regular on Dr. Mehmet Oz's talk show, television personality and healthy living champion Montel Williams revealed a secret about his own health on today's episode that he says he's never said on air before.
In an emotional segment Williams teared up as he described to Oz how he underwent an unnecessary double mastectomy at the age of 19, the result of a torn pectoralis muscle that was misdiagnosed as male breast cancer. As a result, Williams says he now suffers from emotional eating, a habit that experts say may function as a precursor to eating disorders.
"People have heard me talk about this on air," he says, referring to previous discussion he's had in the media about his mastectomy and bouts with clinical depression. "It's been recently diagnosed as emotional lability, which means that I can't control my ups and downs ... and when I feel that way, and I'm at home, I sneak food," Williams said.
A landmark study conducted last year offered some confirmation on a long-standing theory that food and mood are biologically linked. According to researchers, hormones in our stomachs appear to communicate directly with our brains, independent of any feelings we have about a particular food.
Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999, a degenerative autoimmune disease that is also said to cause profound emotional consequences, including major depressive episodes and mood swings.
Williams revelation also sheds light on largely-held misconception about African Americans and eating disorders.
Contrary to popular beliefs, researchers at the University of Southern California released statistics in 2009 that found African-American girls were 50 percent more likely than their white counterparts to be bulimic. Another study called the National Survey of American Life conducted a comprehensive nationwide study of over 6,000 African American and Caribbean Blacks and found that lifetime prevalence rates for Bulimia is slightly higher than the national average of 1.0 percent.
To conquer his emotional eating, Williams says he's implemented a "miracle plan" that’s helped him break the junk-food cycle. Read more about how it did it here.