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Is Food Addiction Real?

food addictionAccording to a new study, women who struggle with weight problems are more impulsive than average in a food-related psychology test.[1] This suggests that they are more instinctively stimulated by images of food, and they lack will power.1 In fact, some women report that they have food cravings even if they have just recently eaten, which is a symptom of possible food addiction.1

“All addictions are similar in that the sufferer craves to excess the feel-good buzz they receive from chemical neurotransmitters produced when they eat, gamble, smoke, have sex, or take drugs,” said Claus Voegele, a professor of clinical and health psychology at the University of Luxembourg.1

For their experiment Voegele and colleagues randomly flashed images of fatty or sweet foods—cake, pizza, hamburgers—and non-food items, such as a sock or a shoe, on a computer screen.1 The women were instructed to click as fast as possible on either the food or non-food pictures.1 The women with weight problems performed less than average.1

The tests were run either three hours after eating or just after eating a meal.1 The researchers found that several women with weight problems said the test had provoked food cravings, regardless of how recently they had eaten.1

“This suggests that some people may have an instinctive, psychological predisposition to binge eating,” said Voegele. “People may overeat to comfort themselves, because they are bored, or just out of habit.”1

[1] Wood, J. (2014). Is Food Addiction Real?. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 16, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/06/14/is-food-addiction-real/71199.html

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