Food addiction is a pervasive, yet controversial, topic that has gained recent attention in both lay media and the scientific literature. The goal of this series of articles is to use a combination of preclinical and clinical data to determine whether foods, like drugs of abuse, can be addictive, the conditions under which the addiction develops, and the underlying neurophysiological substrates. Operational definitions of addiction that have been used in the treatment of human disorders and to guide research in both humans and animals are presented, and an overview of the symposium articles is provided. We propose that specific foods, especially those that are rich in fat and/or sugar, are capable of promoting "addiction"-like behavior and neuronal change under certain conditions. That is, these foods, although highly palatable, are not addictive per se but become so following a restriction/binge pattern of consumption. Such consummatory patterns have been associated with increased risk for comorbid conditions such as obesity, early weight gain, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse as well as with relapse and treatment challenges. The topic of food addiction bears study, therefore, to develop fresh approaches to clinical intervention and to advance our understanding of basic mechanisms involved in loss of control.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Nutrition and Dietetics