Another Obesity Explanation: Food Addiction

Photo: Hemera

Some people really are addicted to foods in a similar way others might be dependent on certain substances, like addictive illegal or prescriptions drugs, or alcohol, researchers from Yale University revealed in Archives of General Psychiatry. Those with an addictive-like behavior seem to have more neural activity in specific parts of the brain in the same way substance-dependent people appear to have, the authors explained.

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I have to say, if you were to catalog all the explanations given for obesity in scholarly journals and elsewhere, it would be hard to find something that isn’t said to cause it.

Ian Gotts

A good friend of mine has foud a diet that works ELYFB (eat less you fat bastard). Having said that I now live in the USA and have found the size of portions compared with the UK must be a contributing factor. If it is on the plate then people will eat it?


Yeah, well I guess I could say I'm addicted to air too. The specific chemical in air that is so addicting is Oxygen. If I go more than 30 seconds or so without it I start to go through withdraws.


Food addiction is nonsense, we are all 'addicted' to food, we need it to live.

Lucas Reis

One of the best science books I've already read is "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Gary Taubes. He dissects the nutrition bibliography and concludes that carbs are the real villains, and dietary fat is not.

Charn Robertson

Not correct. Refined and processed foods, which leeds to
altered sugar content and fibre reduction, is the problem. Carbohydrates are very important of any nutrition plan. The question to ask about carbs is , did they come from a whole food like pumpkin or high fructose corn starch, which is added to so many food products? Munching a bunch of carrots (yes, they do contain carbs) will not destroy your health like doughnuts. Get the source right, get your health right

Andreas Moser

Of course we are addicted to food. Otherwise we would starve.


"obese people are addicted to foods " - isn;t that a tautology?


Vince Skolny

Obesity is a disease-- a disease that can be cured by 90-180 days of sensible diet and vigorous exercise.

Iran Monroy

I agree there are some people more likely to become dependents on substances including food, but i will also add responsibility to the food industry which with all the food engineers employed are changing the natural content of aliments to become more addictive, i just read about hyper palatable and the effects in the brain, the way food additives such salt, sugar and fat change our behavior as they provoke chemical reactions in people's bodies. I did the experiment, i'm a fit man with a well equilibrate diet, everyday since high school i eat plain vegetables, fruits and grains, avoiding those additives, and eureka, i just eat what i need, but when i start eating sweets i start feeling compulsive, i can't stop, i neither smoke nor drink, but i feel like taking a chocolate and want to buy more promising myself won't be more than for a a day, from tomorrow never again.

This conditions is more related to the food industry's economic point than about the human behavior, so be careful on what your put in your mouth better than concerning your phycological condition.



Food addiction as a cause of obesity is nonsense. All animals are addicted to food, for obvious reasons. Food is good, do I really have to point that out???

The entire conventional wisdom that obesity is caused by simply eating too much food needs to be changed.

It is not how much you eat, it is WHAT you eat. You can literally gorge yourself at every meal until you can't stuff another bite down your throat, and you won't get fat, if you are ONLY eating meat and vegetables. As soon as you add a lot of sugar/HFCS/bread/carbs to a "eat as much as you want" diet, you'll start packing on the pounds.

It's really frustrating watching people who can't lose weight and are genuinely trying to do so. They're often eating a lot of pasta/bread because it's low fat and the USDA food pyramid says it's healthy. Turn the USDA food pyramid upside down and delete the sugar, and you have a healthy diet. It's downright criminal that the government tells us to have a bread-based diet. It's making us fat, giving us diabetes, and eventually killing us.


Alison Bezzina

29.5% of Maltese children aged between 11 and 15 are overweight or obese. The EU average is only 13.3%, and whilst Greece is behind us in second place, they only hit 17.7%.

When it comes to adults, we’re not far from the pole position either. We rank 3rd out of all the EU countries, with 22.3% of Maltese adults being overweight or obese, when the EU average is 15.5%. (Health at a glance report, 2010)