Food and Behaviour Research

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Food addiction in humans

Pelchat, M.L. (2009) J Nutr.  139(3) 620-2. Epub 2009 Jan 28. 

Web URL: View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text of this article is available online

Abstract:

Most of the evidence for or against food addiction in humans focuses on similarities between food craving and drug craving. There are numerous parallels in neuroanatomy, neurochemistry, and learning. Indeed, brain mechanisms for craving probably evolved to promote seeking of natural rewards and are taken over by drugs of abuse.

Healthy, normal weight individuals, by definition, do not suffer from food addiction; however, overweight and obese individuals could meet clinical criteria. Palatable foods are not responsible for the obesity problem, because even nonpalatable foods can come to be desired and potentially overconsumed. It may be the way in which foods are consumed (e.g. alternating access and restriction) rather than their sensory properties that leads to an addictive eating pattern.