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Food Addiction Institute (FAI)


The Food Addiction Institute (FAI) founded in 2005, is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to support the recovery of all food addicts.
FAI advocates for acceptance of food addiction as a disease of substance abuse and the widespread availability of effective, abstinence-based solutions.


  • Make resources available for those who may be food addicted.
  • Provide public and professional education about food addiction as a treatable chemical dependency.
  • Outreach to public, physicians, dietitians, therapists, counselors and other allied health professionals and service provider organizations, nationally and internationally.
  • Contribute to the identification, enhanced awareness and knowledge dissemination about food addiction.
  • Forward awareness of how food addiction is distinct from other food, eating and weight related disorders in definition and effective treatment.
  • Forge avenues for food addiction-informed approaches and food addiction-informed trained professionals. 
  • Create a forum for the development and dissemination of innovative and effective public health strategies related to the prevention, mitigation and treatment of food addiction. 
  • Offer information about promising new practices for the treatment of food addiction.
  • Provide a platform and serve as a think tank for cutting edge experts, authorities, research and professionals aligned with the mission and vision of the FAI.


Initially conceived and founded by Phil Werdell, MA, a long time food addiction professional and a leader in the field. The Food Addiction Institute grew in 2005 out of a conversation among food addiction professionals and recovering food addicts concerned about the need to effectively address the food addiction crisis within the obesity epidemic.
The Food Addiction Institute International Advisory Board was created with prominent scientists, clinicians, and leaders in the field of food addiction; their role to date has been to respond to and sometimes involve themselves in projects of ad hoc work groups.
​In the early years, FAI efforts primarily focused on collecting research slowly being generated that supported the validity of identifying food addiction as a distinct medical condition and food addicts as people deserving of, and indeed, requiring a distinct approach to treatment.
At the same time, the Institute began to collect descriptions of best practices from leading treatment professionals. A growing list of publications helpful to patients and clients, as well as healthcare providers was assembled, and has continued to grow as interest in the field has grown.
In January 2017, the FAI Board of Directors significantly updated its mission statement. It now reflects a greater emphasis on serving the needs of those afflicted with food addiction, as it continues to offer useful information to healthcare providers and researchers. The Food Addiction Institute now has also committed itself to playing a much stronger advocacy role.


​Since 2005, the Food Addiction Institute working groups and committees have: ​
  • Supported the writing of
    • several books on food addiction and
    • a series of scientific review articles on the major characteristics of substance use disorders in relation to food.
  • Compiled and posted a bibliography of 2,733 peer reviewed articles and books on the science of food addiction.
  • Developed an International Advisory Board consisting of leading scientists, clinicians and advocates in the field.
  • Created a three year professional training program currently administered by ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services.
  • Joined the Food Addiction Research Group at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.
  • Co-sponsored, with UMass School of Medicine, the first and second National Conference on Treatment of Food Addiction.
  • Helped develop the International Society of Food Addiction Professionals (ISFAP) in cooperation with the Refined Food Addiction Research Foundation (ReFA).
  • Initiated and coordinated annual food abstinent cruises for food addicts, their families and professionals who serve them.
  • Developed a pilot program for researching, educating and treating food addicted bariatric surgery patients.
  • Published “Physical Craving and Food Addiction: a review of the science.”
  • Supported the writing of several articles books in the field of food addiction recovery and treatment, including “A Tool Kit for Food Addiction Assessment and Treatment; the Basics from A to Z. For Physicians, Dietitians, Therapists and other Allied Health Professionals.”
  • Initiated a series of webinars on fundamental issues of food addiction treatment.
  • Wrote and pretested a three-fold pamphlet about food addiction for doctors and allied health professionals.
  • Supported the development of new recovery houses for food addicts.
  • Organized an educational campaign to add food addiction as a substance use disorder in the DSM5 of the American Psychiatric Association.
  • Created FAI’s campaign: “Just Say It! Addiction to Food Is Real! Recovery is Possible.”
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